* Demand for Blackstone POS System Soars as Market Embraces Internet-Enabled , Touch-Screen Terminals and Industry Revenues Top $4 Billion
* Agreement Will Accelerate Merchant Sales and Consumer Use of Prepaid Calling Cards, Internet Services, Wireless and Paging Services
Blackstone, one of the nation’s leading providers of prepaid products and services, has awarded Hypercom Corporation (NYSE: HYC) a $50 million contract for a widescale rollout of Hypercom’s ePic ICE card payment terminals and web appliances in support of Blackstone’s POS (point-of-sale) activation program. The agreement represents one of the largest contracts ever awarded to a point-of-sale payments terminal manufacturer. It follows Blackstone’s initial pilot rollout in November 2000. The size of the order reflects retailer demand for the devices and coincides with the rapid expansion of the prepaid calling card market segment. That segment climbed to almost $4 billion in 2000, and prepaid wireless products now coming to market are expected to increase that by as much as 50% this year.
The rollout will allow tens of thousands of retailers across the United States to more easily sell prepaid calling cards as well as the new prepaid products and services - including prepaid dial tone, Internet access and prepaid wireless services - on the same device that handles their traditional credit card payment functions
The Blackstone POS multiple function card payment (credit, debit, EBT) and prepaid product activation program is an industry first. Retailers no longer have to purchase several devices to handle each function. They also no longer have to inventory cards, count prepaid inventory, reconcile payments or store paper transactions. Using Hypercom’s secure, browser-based ICE touch-screen, menu-driven terminal, merchants can quickly and easily print and activate the calling cards, access accounting information via the Internet, accept smart cards/ATM/debit and EBT (electronic benefits transfer) cards, process check verifications and American Express, Discover Card, MasterCard and Visa transactions. With Hypercom’s electronic signature and receipt capture system, merchants can capture and store millions of signatures and receipts and have them retrieved automatically to address disputed charges and meet card association chargeback requirements without having to store the receipts in each retail outlet.
"Merchants using the Blackstone POS activation program with Hypercom ICE terminals are enthusiastic. Now they can meet the surging consumer demand for prepaid products and generate new revenue opportunities while reducing their POS equipment investment and streamlining transactions," said Luis Arias, president and CEO, Blackstone. "That’s no small achievement for merchants in today’s highly competitive market, even more so for smaller retailers who must compete with their often larger and more established chain competitors."
"Hypercom’s ePic ICE terminals are the first to integrate fast, secure and reliable card payment capabilities, prepaid service activation and printing of the cards at the point-of-sale," said Chris Alexander, president and CEO, Hypercom Corporation. "The Hypercom ePic ICE solution goes beyond current magnetic strip activation that requires a separate prepaid calling card activation terminal and a separate printout for the PIN and access number. Hypercom’s solution integrates everything into one package, incorporating a new stock card printer for improved convenience and ease-of-use for the merchant, and an easy to access, expanded category of prepaid products for the consumer."
Hypercom’s ePic (ePOS-infocommerce) ICE devices are high performance, touch screen-based, Internet-enabled card payment terminals and web appliances that incorporate a firewall-protected multi-application operating system, EMV chip card capability, secure PIN pad, built-in HTML/HTTP web browser and integrated receipt printer. In addition to the embedded applications, Hypercom’s ePic ICE terminals support a range of value-added applications and services including: electronic signature and receipt capture, e-mail, on-screen advertising, interactive electronic coupons, user e-commerce function and cash management reporting through a standard browser - as well as secure credit, debit and smart card functions.
Hypercom Corporation (NYSE: HYC) is a leading global provider of electronic payment solutions that add value at the point-of-sale for consumers, merchants and acquirers. Hypercom’s products include secure card payment terminals and web appliances, networking equipment and software applications for e-commerce, m-commerce, smart cards and traditional payment applications.
Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Hypercom maintains an installed base of more than 3.5 million card payment terminals which operate in over 100 countries and conduct more than 2.5 billion transactions annually.
About Blackstone Inc.
Blackstone, a leading manufacturer and distributor of prepaid products and telecommunication services, is headquartered in Miami, Florida. Today, the company offers more than 50 prepaid calling cards, prepaid paging, prepaid dial tone, prepaid wireless, one plus long distance, Internet services, and point-of-sale terminals at more than 300,000 retail locations nationwide.
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