Visa U.S.A. said yesterday that it had renewed an eight-year-old agreement to buy telecommunications services from CompuServe Inc.

Under the terms of the five-year $72 million contract, CompuServe, Columbus, Ohio, will run the telecommunications network for the card group's merchant processing business shuttling credit card data between merchant point-of-sale terminals and bank-operated data bases.

Visa competes with technology companies in the merchant processing business.

CompuServe is a telecommunications and videotext service provider owned by H&R Block Inc.

Special Prefix Assigned

In the new agreement, CompuServe will offer Visa a faster type of telecommunication service accessed by telephone numbers beginning with the 950 prefix.

Under the previous contract with the bank card association, CompuServe said it had routed data for more than 1.75 billion transactions over its telecommunications network since 1984.

Transaction volume has been increasing annually at an average rate of 61% since 1984, CompuServe said.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.