New York-based U.S. Banknote terminated its agreement to acquire a 24.5% interest in Transfirst Inc., which specializes in electronic benefits transfer, from Affiliated Computer Services Inc.

Affiliated Computer will now retain its 49% equity in the company, while Walter Patterson, founder, chairman, and chief executive of Transfirst, retains 51% ownership.

"We are not actively seeking any additional equity partners," said Mr. Patterson. His comments were echoed by American Computer officials. Both companies are based in Dallas.

The equity owners are, however, interested in teaming up with other companies to pursue electronic benefits transfer contracts throughout the country.

Electronic benefits transfer enables recipients of government benefits to receive their payments through automated teller machines or point of sale terminals using a card similar to an ATM or debit card.

Transfirst and American Computer had teamed up with Chemical Banking Corp. to bid for a huge, seven-state electronic benefits transfer contract in the Northeast. The team lost to a bid led by Citibank.

Transfirst is now actively pursuing a long-term electronic benefits transfer contract in Minnesota and Wisconsin, together with American Computer and several other unnamed partners.

"We are the incumbent processor, and we believe that gives us a big boost in terms of being knowledgeable about the work," said Mr. Patterson, referring to the current electronic benefits transfer project in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, which Transfirst operates.

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