To the Editor:

An article on the commercial card business ("A Challenge to Processors: Business Card Customers' Demand for More Detail," Sept. 11, page 15) did not do justice to Total System Services.

The article quoted David Robertson of The Nilson Report as saying, "Half the market is in-house .... No third party dominates the commercial card market at this stage, but it is inevitable the third-party processors will take a bigger part of the market."

In fact, very few financial institutions are processing their commercial cards in-house. Following are some statistics about this market:

Total System is responsible for processing approximately 70% of the commercial cards outstanding and serves more than 50% of financial institutions that issue Visa and MasterCard commercial cards.

Based on a recent Nilson Report covering the top Visa and MasterCard commercial card issuers, Total System processes for seven of the top 10 and approximately 40 of the top 75.

Total System processes commercial cards for 41 financial institutions, representing more than four million accounts and cardholders.

According to a 1996 study by the First Annapolis consulting firm, Total System had 67% of the market, First Data 20%, Electronic Data Systems 11%, Synapquest 2%.

Synapquest has decided to exit the business, and Total System will likely pick up most or all of its market share. Keith D. Pierce VP, director of commercial services,Total System Services Inc.,Columbus, Ga.

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