Money Access Service Inc., the unit of Electronic Payment Services Inc. that operates the MAC automated teller machine and debit card network, continues to flex its muscle at the point of sale.

The Wilmington, Del.-based company said last week that Shaw's Supermarkets has begun to accept ATM cards in 22 of its 87 New England stores. Shaw's is the ninth retailer to sign such a deal with MAC this year.

By the end of May, 60 Shaw's Supermarkets in New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island will be taking MAC cards, and all stores will be in the system in July.

Shaw's will bring the total of New England retail locations accepting MAC to 1,200. Gaint Foods, Safeway, TrueValue Hardware, Spencer Gifts, Texaco, Penn Traffic, A&P, and Eye Doctor locations also recently agreed to accept transactions.

The network reported a 40% increase in point of sale transactions over the past year via 107,000 store terminals in 26 states. More than 1,480 financial institutions, issuing 28 million cards, are participants in MAC.

First NH Bank, a MAC member which has placed ATMs at most of the Shaw's markets in New Hampshire, will also be the point of sale merchant bank.

"Basically, we're responding to what our customers want," said Bernard Rogan, a spokesman for Shaw's, which is the second-largest grocery chain in New England.

Melinda Mercurio, director of marketing for MAC, said supermarket acceptance has been a major initiative for the network. "Once we start getting a critical mass f supermarket acceptances," she said, "it will tip the marketplace" so that other retailiers accept MAC.

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