Vital Processing Services has bought a company, AMS LLC, which sells point of sale terminals, and created a subsidiary called Vital Merchant Services for its new product line.

The deal, which closed last Tuesday, puts Vital into the hardware and terminal management business. Its main business is processing credit card transactions on behalf of merchants.

"This fills a gap on our service offering," said Jonathan Palmer, president and chief executive officer of Vital in Tempe, Ariz. "A merchant would have several stickers on his phone saying whom to call for specific problems. Now he can call one number for anything."

Vital will sell software and hardware for point of sale transactions, set them up, manage the service, and respond to customers' problems. The only thing Vital does not do is make the equipment.

By adding AMS' business, Mr. Palmer said, Vital can "help simplify merchants' lives" by offering a number of support services: terminal replacement and repair, installation, training, and help desk support.

"In AMS, we found a partner with the relevant experience as well as the personnel," Mr. Palmer said. "It is a good fit, culturally."

AMS also brings Vital a new base of customers who do not necessarily use Vital as their processor. Some may choose to switch. "All our customers will be able to do business as they used to, but we will aggressively push to cross-sell our services," said Keith Smith, the newly appointed president and chief executive officer of Vital Merchant Services.

Paul Martaus, president of the merchant processing and merchant acquiring consulting firm Martaus & Associates of Mountain Home, Ark., said Vital has added an important piece to its business. The small and midsize merchants that are Vital's bread and butter will welcome the terminal services, he said.

"This is important for their long-term strategy," Mr. Martaus said. "Everybody else has it, First Data Merchant Service and Nova, and now they can offer it too. It is not earth-shattering, but it is a good deal for Vital."

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