Advantis, a networking technology venture between International Business Machines Corp. and Sears and Roebuck, has negotiated an agreement with the recently launched payment Solutions Network Inc. The new deal gives Advantis a three-year stock option plan to buy up to 20% of PSN's common shares.

The new arrangement bodes well for the future of PSN, the new electronic check presentment exchange, said Denny Carreker, president of Dallas-based J.D. Carreker and Associates, and a part owner of PSN.

"We think it's great that Advantis believes we'll be a success," Mr. Carreker said. "As a part owner, I view it as a strong plus."

Delaware-based PSN formed late last year by Carreker, NationsBank Corp., BankAmerica Corp., Bank of Boston Corp., Barnett Banks Inc., Boatmen's Bancshares, First Interstate Bancorp., and First Tennessee National Corp.

The new relationship between PSN and Advantis also will include "enhanced" data communications support and services, said Ralph Compton, area executive with Advantis.

"We Will be doing joint marketing to help banks develop and establish ECP as a standard," said Mr. Compton.

The moves by banks to the electronic presentment of checks has taken off in recent as more banks become ECP capable.

Electronic check presentment technology sends check information between participating banks ahead of the paper, allowing for earlier debiting of accounts. This in turn helps banks reduce the risk of fraud through the early detection of bad checks.

Mr. Carreker said that in addition to the founding banks, 12 other banks are exchanging items on the exchange and "that number is growing."

"In 30 days, there will be 20 times the volume we have now," Mr. Carreker said. "It's getting ready to explode."

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