Electronic Payment Services Inc., operator of the MAC automated teller machine network, has signed a New Jersey company as the exclusive supplier of card readers for vending machines to be used with MAC's stored-value smart-card project.

Wilmington, Del.-based EPS signed the pact last month with Danyl Corp., a Moorestown, N.J., company that designs and makes products offering multi-access vending capabilities via coin, bill, magnetic stripe card, and smart card.

Yearlong Tests

The MAC network, the third-largest processor of ATM transactions in the United States, has been testing Danyl's vending machines for a year as part of its smart-card program.

Unlike debit cards that tie in electronically to bank accounts, a stored-value card enables cardholders to keep a limited dollar amount in a secure microchip embedded in their cards.

MAC plans to roll out a stored-value card program at the end of 1994, officials said.

"Whereas debit is an electronic check and credit is an electronic loan, stored-value cards are like electronic cash," said Robert J. Merkert Sr., executive vice president at Danyl.

Mr. Merkert said he expects stored-value cards to supplement the use of change. "Most stored-value card purchases will be under 10 dollars," he said. "In fact, the cards themselves will only be able to hold either 20 or 50 dollars."

Stored-value cards have previously been used in "closed" environments with a single, dedicated use for the card, such as municipal transportation or photocopying, Mr. Merkert said. Using smart-card technology, the MAC cards are designed for multipurpose use.

Various Possible Uses

After loading the dollar among onto the microchip at a MAC ATM or at a specially designed cash-to-card machine consumers will be able to use the card instead of cash at designated fast-food restaurants, convenience stores, pay phones, toll gas, vending machines, and mass transit stations.

Under the arrangement with EPS, Danyl will make the card-acceptance devices that will be used with vending machines. Danyl will also make Cash Value Stations, the cash-to-card machines.

Mr. Merkert added that ATM developers like Diebold Inc. and NCR Corp. are working with EPS to upgrade their ATMs to handle stored-value card functions.

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