Hypercom Inc. said one of its central product offerings, the T7P point of sale terminal, has received certification from Visa U.S.A.

The move signifies that the T7P is compatible with the VisaNet system for processing of merchant transactions, and that the credit card association will provide help-desk support to users 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Visa will download necessary software, initialize the units, and provide a toll-free telephone number for technical support.

Phoenix-based Hypercom, which ranks second to Verifone Inc. in the authorization terminal market, has reported significant sales of the T7P over the last year. The demand for the terminal, distinguished by its integration of a printer in the authorization device, was a factor in recent expansions of manufacturing capacity in Phoenix and in Sydney, Australia.

"We're delighted to add support for the T7P to our retail/restaurant software application," said Steve Berardo, vice president and general manager of merchant bank services at Visa U.S.A. "We know the T7P adds value for retail stores and restaurants . . . The high functionality, quick transaction times and integrated printer of the T7P make operator training and operations easy."

The merchant bank services unit is a separate member-owned, not-for- profit company formed by Visa U.S.A. to serve as the primary U.S. distributor of Visa merchant processing services. The unit processed more than 1.3 billion point-of-sale transactions in 1993.

Hypercom, like its rival Verifone, maintains close ties with the bank card associations and other providers like American Express, and the T7P certification takes the Hypercom-Visa relationship up a notch.

The certification makes the Hypercom technology "available to an entirely new market segment serviced by Visa member banks," said Al Irato, president and chief executive officer of Hypercom. "The T7P is a low-price- point addition to the very successful T7 family of terminals and uses the same application software already developed and certified for use on Visa's network."

Hypercom says the T7P, introduced in June 1994, offers more features and system memory than other terminals in its price class. It can be used as an entry-level system that a retail store or restaurant can upgrade easily as volumes rise.

Among those publicly reporting T7P orders were Card Establishment Services Inc., for 10,000 units, and Banco Bradesco of Brazil, 16,000.

Hypercom also recently announced the availability of the S7SC, a smart card reader that can also accommodate magnetic-stripe credit and debit cards. With 256 kilobytes of random access memory, the device can support applications that require entry of personal identification numbers. It also can operate with any Hypercom "T" series terminal, an electronic cash register, or other point of sale system with a Hypercom adapter.

Mr. Irato said Hypercom did not announce the S7SC until units had been delivered, and he expects at least one major U.S. order in the first quarter this year.

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