Nabanco confirmed this week that it won the bidding to process all MasterCard and Visa sales at Sears stores.
Sears, Roebuck and Co. began taking the bank cards, along with American Express cards, on Sunday. Except for a recent market test, the Sears Merchandise Group had accbpted only the proprietary SearsCharge card and the Discover card.
Nabanco, a unit of First Financial Management Corp. of Atlanta, is providing the authorization, processing, and settlement services for bank card transactions at more than 1,800 Sears stores and affiliated units.
"Signing a contract of this magnitude with one of the nation's oldest and largest retailers clearly demonstrates the leadership position that Nabanco has established in the industry." said Patrick H. Thomas, chairman, president, and chief executive office of First Financial Management.
Nabanco, formally National Bancard Corp., is the largest merchant credit card processor in the United States. According to The Nilson Report, an Oxnard, Calif.-based newsletter, Nabanco handled $35.8 billion in card sales last year.
Nabanco, which is based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., says it processes one out of every six Visa and MasterCard transactions, and should increase that share with the Sears business.
Nabanco's closest rivals are National City Processing Co., a unit of National City Corp. of Cleveland, and Card Establishment Services Inc., a recent spinoff of Citicorp.
Word Began to Spread
National City Processing participated in the six-city, 140-store test that preceded Sears' decision to accept bank cards and American Express nationwide.
In early July, word began to spread in the bank card industry that Nabanco was closing in on the coveted Sears contract.
At the end of June, Microbilt, another First Financial Management subsidiary, signed a contract to provide signature capture devices for all Sears points of sale.
The electromagnetic devices create an electronic versions of customer signatures, which reduce paper files and streamline resolution of disputes or errors.
Microbilt's terminals also can read cards' magnetic stripes and embossed characters, as well as the magnetic-character lines of checks.Sears and Cards,At a GlanceNumber 809 full-serviceof stores stores and 1,000 affiliated outletsCards MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover, SearsChargeSears annualsales $32 billionBank cardpotential 15% of sales(*)First * MasterCard andFinancial Visa processingManagement by NabancoCorp.'s roles * Merchant bank services by First Financial Bank * Signature-capture system by Microbilt(*) Estimate by Master Card International