Mellon Bank Corp. is trying to entice more corporate vendors to accept purchasing cards.

The Pittsburgh-based bank, which began marketing a MasterCard-branded purchasing card to corporations in 1995, is selling payment processing services at a discount if vendors accept the card.

The processing unit, Mellon Network Services, with the help of the Mellon Global Cash Management unit, is targeting vendors that do not currently accept purchasing cards.

"There are over three million businesses that receive money from corporations and only 1.2 million of them accept credit cards," said Troy Cullen, national sales manager for Mellon Network Services.

The market for purchasing cards continues to be a growing business, estimated to be a $400 billion industry for purchases under $5,000. Mellon has issued purchasing cards to employees from 60 corporate clients, but it would not reveal the number of cards.

"It's a nice marketing approach, and certainly the vendor (side) of purchasing cards is the least developed aspect of purchasing cards today," said Philip A. Skarston, vice president, marketing, Colorado-based Procard Inc., a marketer of purchasing card software.

"Because Mellon controls the full environment, they may be able to (provide benefits) from a pricing standpoint," said Stan Anderson, president of Anderson and Associates in Arvada, Colo.

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