RBS Lynk to Support Debitman Acceptance

Chase Paymentech petroleum merchants also testing card

ATLANTA -- Payment processor RBS Lynk will provide access to Debitman, a retailer-driven ACH debit network. Retailers processing with RBS Lynk will be able to leverage Debitman's open-card network which will result in greater acceptance and more marketability of retailer-issued debit cards. In addition, a retailer can simultaneously save on network fees and receive incremental revenue by becoming a Debitman card issuer.

RBS Lynk is providing the power of a national open network and new revenue opportunities for their retailers who wish to issue branded [image-nocss] debit cards, said Scott Hatfield, Chico, Calif.-based Debitman Inc.'s president and COO. Previously, the primary incentive for retailers to issue store-branded debit cards was to reward consumers through their loyalty programs and keep the card value in their store network. With Debitman acceptance, retailers can take an active role in managing their electronic payment costs.

Debitman is the only provider of a shared network, retailer-issued card, it said. RBS Lynk recognizes it as a debit network using the national ACH system. As with traditional debit networks, once the authorization is received the funds are guaranteed by Debitman. Issuing retailers benefit in two ways. First, when cards are used at an issuer's own store, they save money on network fees. Second, when cards are accepted by other merchants in the network, the issuing retailer receives revenue.

Atlanta-based RBS Lynk is a single-source provider of electronic payment processing services, including credit, debit, EBT, checks, gift cards, e-commerce, customer loyalty cards, fleet cards, prepaid cards, ATM processing and cash management services. The U.S. payment processing division of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, RBS Lynk is a nonbank subsidiary of Citizens Financial Group.

Separately, Chase Paymentech Solutions LLC recently said that a limited number of its petroleum merchant customers, comprising 400 retail locations, including units of Agoura Hills, Calif.-based USA Petroleum Corp., are in initial testing phases for acceptance of the Debitman card.

Merchants that accept Debitman can realize financial benefits associated with direct debit of the consumer's checking account. Also, Debitman can be linked to customer loyalty programs.

Petroleum marketers have expressed the need for more payment alternatives at the point of sale, said Wayne LeRoux, executive vice president and general manager of retail network services for Chase Paymentech, Dallas. We are examining ways to provide them that.

Debitman cards are debit cards that require a PIN (personal identification number) for usage and are issued by merchants to frequent, loyal customers whose checking accounts are in good standing. There is no credit line tied to a Debitman card.

While Debitman transactions require a PIN, they are considered to be offline because funds are not withdrawn from a customer's account until the end of the day. Merchants are not required to invest in additional hardware or software, since cards are swiped through the same card reader used for other credit and debit cards. Most merchants have the ability to accept Debitman transactions immediately.

Chase Paymentech works hard to stay on the forefront of technology and payment acceptance, LeRoux said. The Debitman pilot could lead to an expanded offering for our petroleum merchants.

Debitman cards are initially issued by a merchant, which will brand the card with its own logo. Even so, because Debitman transactions are tied directly to the cardholder's checking account, they can be used in any location that accepts Debitman. The cards are currently accepted at multiple retail locations, including Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Auto Zone, Bed, Bath & Beyond, CVS/pharmacy, Walgreens, Macy's and Barnes and Noble.

To obtain a Debitman card, customers are required to complete an application and supply checking account and driver's license information. That information is checked against a check guarantee database. Customers are able to use the cards for up to $500 in purchases within any four-day period.