Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Edmond Firm to Upgrade Chain's Software System

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Edmond Firm to Upgrade Chain's Software System

Article excerpt

company has contracted with Houston's largest grocery chain to upgrade and market its electronic payment software system.

The system processes check-cashing card authorizations and makes debit card payments.

Sheppard Corp. of Edmond will upgrade software of Randall's Food Markets and package the documentation to begin licensing an electronic payment system in early 1989, said J. Wade Sheppard, president of the company.

Cost of the software is under $100,000, Sheppard said.

Cost of the total system used by Randall's 39 stores is about $1 million, Sheppard said.

The chain has been using an electronic payment system since March 1987.

"Our plan is to market the software nationwide," Sheppard said. "We believe that both grocery and general merchandise retailers can enjoy benefits equally."

Here is how the system operates: When a customer wishes to write a check, they hand the check-cashing card to the cashier, who then presses the check approval function key and passes the check-cashing card through the terminal. The purchase amount and the check amount are entered and the terminal displays the approval number along with the customer's last name. The check compares the name on the check with the display.

With the debit card, which is issued by a financial institution and is normally used at an automated teller machine, the card is passed through the checkout terminal and the customer enters his personal identification number. Funds are then transferred from the customer account to the retailer account.

While pilot programs for electronic funds transfer (EFT) at the point of sale have been ongoing, few equal the success at Randall's, said Bob Gowen, executive vice president of Randall's.

"The annual savings on bad checks alone justifies the cost of the entire system," Gowen said.

Typically, a store keeps a separate file of bad check writers - even stores with chains, Sheppard said, but with this software, stores in the chain are linked. …

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