TEMPE, Ariz. - Vital Processing Services, the merchant processing company owned by Visa U.S.A. and TSYS, has signed an agreement to purchase HNC Software's Capstone Online credit decision service and says it will market the software to Vital merchant-acquirer customers.

Vital says Capstone Online's case management and automated decision-making functions will let Vital's clients automate their credit review and acceptance process for merchant applications. The software is aimed at giving merchant-acquirers additional business intelligence to help them improve their merchant underwriting and pricing methodologies.

The issuing side of the payment processing industry is already using instant credit application services and finding that they lead to cost savings and efficiencies, Vital says. It says the deal with HNC, which markets risk management software, is meant to bring similar risk strategies to the merchant-acquirer side of the business.

"Vital looks for opportunities to provide technology-based solutions that enable our clients to employ successful business practices," said Jonathan Palmer, president and chief executive officer of Vital. "By teaming with industry leader HNC, Vital will introduce an automated system to help acquirers achieve quicker account setup and reduce back-office costs."

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