As part of its move to new headquarters, Plus System Inc. has upgraded its systems to provide for new product development and improved disaster recovery.
Plus, a global automated teller machine network, processes over 18 million transactions a month. In 1992, ATMs carrying the Plus logo disbursed more than $8 billion in cash.
D. Dale Browning, president of Plus, said the new facility doubled the network's transaction capacity when it opened last month.
Mr. Browning also said one of the major sources of future growth in ATM processing will come from what is called "gateway" business. Gateways are computer links within a network where one processing company connects with another.
Plus has been actively establishing these gateways, allowing Plus member banks to accept more types of cards at their ATMs by routing those transactions through Plus. Gateway volume already constitute 25% of Plus annual volume total.
The new computer facility also enables Plus to process transactions for Visa's debit card point-of-sale products.
With these new services, customers can use a card that is connected to their checking account for payment at stores, restaurants, and other establishments.
When Plus moved to the new location in southeast Denver, it ended an outsourcing relationship with Colorado National Bank for some "off-line" processing tasks, an arrangement in place since 1982.
Plus has installed an International Business Machines Corp. AS/400 at their new headquarters and is now handling off-line processing themselves.
ATM transaction switching uses Concurrent 3280 MPS fault-tolerant midrange computers. The systems at Colorado National Bank are being maintained as backup support in case of a disaster.
"We left the original off-line processing capabilities intact," explained Mr. Browning. "If something happens to our new headquarters, we can divert traffic downtown back to the bank."
The new Plus facility is also equipped with diesel engine-driven electrical generators to be used in case of power failure.
The computer facility became operational on July 18, a Sunday, when transaction traffic would be at a minimum, Mr. Browning said.
Plus allowed for two hours of computer "down time" to switch over to the new facility, but Mr. Browning noted the changeover went better than expected and that their network was not operating for only one hour and twenty minutes.
Ms. Sullivan is a freelance writer based in New York.