Heartland Payment Systems Inc. has signed Martin Eagle Oil Co. as the first customer of its SmartLink consolidated-network system.

The Princeton, N.J., processor said Tuesday that Martin Eagle is planning to use SmartLink to consolidate its network for transaction data and back-office information, initially at 11 retail locations before expanding to its roughly 100 remaining locations.

Martin Eagle, of Denton, Texas, supplies fuel products to gas stations in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, and operates Quick Track convenience stores in Texas. The company currently uses several types of networks, including dial-up systems and "whatever was available in that area at the time," said Stephen Martin, its president.

Martin Eagle decided to use SmartLink because it wanted to use a single system to manage all of its networks.

SmartLink consolidates multiple in-store communication lines into one high-speed broadband connection that carries encrypted transaction data.

Heartland introduced SmartLink in February.

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