Magazine article American Banker

Merged Network Completes Linkup of ATMs in 3 States and DC

Magazine article American Banker

Merged Network Completes Linkup of ATMs in 3 States and DC

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- One of the nation's biggest regional automated teller machine networks is now operating around Washington, D.C.

Following last week's completion of certain computer links, Internet Inc. of Reston, Va., is connected to more than 1,700 ATMs in Maryland, Washington, Virginia, and Delaware.

Internet represents the merger of two networks: Most and Network Exchange. Internet is continuing to use the Most name, while the Network Exchange rubric will gradually disappear.

The two networks agreed to merge in July 1984, but a variety of technical problems prevented their operational consolidation. So until last week, the two networks continued to operate separately.

"It's just been a somewhat frustrating period of time trying to get the two networks together," said Phillip A. Parker, chairman of Internet and senior vice president at First Virginia Banks Inc., Falls Church, Va.

The operational merger of Internet was delayed by the network's inability to find "switching" service. A switch is a computer that supports a shared network by connecting the different institutions with one another's ATMs.

Originally, Internet planned to buy switching services from NCR Corp. of Dayton, Ohio. But earlier this year, NCR abandoned the switching business.

So Internet chose A.O. Smith Data Systems, a division of the A.O. Smith Corp. in Brown Deer, Wis., for switching.

Emphasis in '86: Point of Sale

Internet, owned by 29 financial institutions, is also interested in point-of-sale programs using debit cards. "The emphasis in '86 will definitely be on point-of-sale," said John H. Barkdoll, Internet's marketing director.

The Most network has been participating for about a year in a point-of-sale program with the Mobil Oil Corp. Customers can use their Most cards to pay for gas at about 60 Mobil stations.

And for about two months, Most cards have been usable at a Roy Rogers outlet in dowtown Washington. The restaurant is equipped with a card-activated banking machine that issues receipts usable as cash for purchases and automatically deducts the amount from the cardholder's bank account.

In its first full month of operation, the Roy Rogers terminal handled about 1,600 transactions, Mr. Barkdoll said. "The volume at the scrip dispenser was obviously very encouraging."

And debit card volume at Mobil stations has grown 60% to 70% in the last eight months, Mr. Barkdoll said. "The conclusion that I draw from that is there is a market out there for customers who want to use their cards, and the biggest obstacle is the communication and education."

For this part, Mr. Parker is a bit less hopeful about point-of-sale. He sees "slow" development of the technology next year. …

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