Verifone Inc. said it has made. the first deliveries of 5,000 point of sale terminals for a major debit card program in Brazil.

The buyer of the systems is Banco Bradesco, the third-largest bank in Brazil, with 2,000 branch offices and $18 billion of assets.

The bank, a major Visa card issuer serving a network of 280,000 merchants, is deploying Verifone's Omni 380 transaction systems With receipt printers and pads for personal identification numbers.

Brazilian banks are taking an unusual, "delayed debit" approach to trying to wean consumers away from checks and cash. In contrast to the instantaneous debiting in most on-line systems, funds will be deducted from cardholder accounts two to three days after the transaction occurs, simulating check float.

There are several examples. of delayed debit in the United States, notably the VonsChek program at the Vons Cos. supermarket chain in California. Funds transfers take the form of non-instantaneous debits via the automated clearing house. Vons used the appeal of a check-like delay to sell the service.

The Brazilians also are emphasizing the convenience and security of using a card and electronics in place of paper checks.

"We believe Bradesco's creative approach to automating the high volume of check transactions will pay off as consumers and merchants begin to recognize the speed, convenience, and security of card-based payment," said Thomas G. Ream, Verifone's vice president for the Americas.

Armando Fernandes Jr., executive vice president of Bradesco, praised Verifone and its Brazilian distributor, Procomp Industria Eletronica Lids., for meeting an aggressive schedule with needed systems support at a competitive price.

"Verifone's total systems approach to transaction automation will play a key role in the success of our landmark debit program," Mr. Fernandes said.

Elsewhere in the fast-growing Latin America market, Verifone announced the delivery of its 100,0001h system to Argencard, the Buenos Aires-based credit card association.

Verifone, which is based in Redwood City, Calif., has installed 3.7 million of its point of sale systems in 80 countries, and made its first Latin American sale in 1987.

The latest milestone "reflects the market growth that Argentina and other Latin American countries are currently experiencing," said Jose Jimenez, Verifone's territory manager for Latin America. According to The Nilson Report, Argentina's annual credit card transaction growth rate of 77% makes it one of the fastest-growing markets in the world.

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