Verifone Inc. announced a modification to its Tranz 380 terminal that allows it to handle two types of transactions at once.

Verifone, the leading provider of outomated authorization terminals for merchants, said the explosion of credit, debit, and related types of transactions exposed the limitations of existing Tranz systems.

The software in the new Tranz 380 x 2 effectively divides its computer memory in two halves, allowing merchants to run multiple applications on the single system.

"Originally used to automate credit card transactions, Verifone systems are now used for a wide variety of financial and nonfinancial transactions, including debit card purchases, food stamps, time and attendance, customer data collection, and health insurance eligibility verification," said Mike Shade, director of marketing for Verifone's U.S. division.

Adding Functions

The Tranz 380 x 2 allows users to add functions "without having to purchase additional hardware or go through the time and expense of modifying and recertifying the application software."

Previous transaction automation systems were capable of loading only a single software program, typically for credit cards or debit cards. To run a second program, a merchant would have had to acquire a separate transaction system or purchase or develop new software to combine functions.

The Tranz 380 x 2 system addresses this need by splitting the 128-kilobyte random access memory into two 64-kilobyte segments. The product then operates as two fully independent systems, each running one application.

Switching Functions

The user can easily switch from one application to the other by pushing a button on the system keypad. This approach saves users the cost and counter space of a second system, as well as the time and expense of developing and certifying software.

Verifone said the dual processor has been used in New York, connecting to both the state Medicaid system and an electronic payment network; and has been deployed bv a midwestern merchant-processing organization to handle both credit and debit payments.

Prices from resellers range from $376 to $349, depending upon quantity, Verifone said.

POS Check Authorization

In another recent product release aimed at meeting a practical need, the Redwood City, Calif., vendor introduced an automated check-authorization terminal.

Called Omnicheck, the system reads the magnetic-ink characters on checks presented at the point of sale. The information can be transmitted to one of the check verification data bases to obtain an authorization.

"While the majority of credit and debit card transactions are automated, authorization for check-based purchases - one-fifth of all consumer payments-remains a manual, inefficient process," said Roger Bertman, Verifone's vice president and general manager of marketing and the Network Systems Division.

He said Verifone has applied its electronic funds transfer expertise to automate check acceptance.

Resellers' prices range from $175 to $230, depending on quantity.

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