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QFC OFFERS NEW PAYMENT CHOICE AT CHECKOUT: VISA

 SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 2 ~PRNewswire~ -- Putting the company in the forefront of a growing movement to accept Visa cards at checkout, Quality Food Centers (QFC) will now accept Visa cards for grocery purchases in its 33 stores located throughout the greater Puget Sound area in Washington state, Visa announced today.
 "Our decision to implement a Visa program is consumer-driven," said Dan Kourkoumelis, president and chief operating officer of QFC. "Our customers want the opportunity to pay by Visa because of the convenience it provides. In turn, accepting several different kinds of credit and debit cards allows us to provide a valuable service to our customers and respond to their needs for more payment options."
 Seafirst, headquartered in Seattle, Wash. is processing QFC's transactions.
 "Providing credit and debit card options is one way Seafirst can help QFC address the needs of its customers," said Bob Watford, Seafirst's point of sale manager. "It's an ideal solution for increasing customer convenience and speed at the checkout counter."
 According to Wesley C. Tallman, executive vice president of consumer products for Visa U.S.A., acceptance of Visa in the supermarket is becoming a sign of the times. "Consumers who have become attached to the convenience and flexibility of using their Visa cards for most purchases are now telling supermarkets they want the same payment option for grocery purchases. Supermarkets are clearly responding to their requests. In just 18 months, more than 8,000 stores nationwide have begun accepting Visa, and recently we have seen momentum building in the Pacific Northwest area," said Tallman.
 Indeed, consumers view Visa cards as a desirable payment option at supermarkets -- so much so in fact that 45 percent of those who use Visa at supermarkets choose their store based upon whether it accepts Visa, according to a recent study. The same study revealed that convenience was the most frequently cited reason for using, or desiring to use, a Visa card at the supermarket checkout counter.
 With an increasing number of supermarkets implementing Visa programs, Visa U.S.A. expects its supermarket sales volume to reach $1.7 billion for the entire year, up from $981 million in 1991. Currently, Visa is accepted at more than 85 percent of the top 50 chains in the nation.
 QFC is the largest independent supermarket chain in the Seattle~Puget Sound area of Washington state. QFC has served this area for 37 years and today operates 33 stores. QFC's first priority is satisfying the needs of customers by providing superior service, high quality perishables and competitive prices at convenient store locations.
 Seafirst Corp., a BankAmerica Corp. subsidiary, operates the largest commercial bank in Washington state -- Seafirst Bank. With 271 branches and 616 cash machines statewide, Seafirst serves more than one million households. Seafirst is also the state's leading business lender and a major bank real estate lender in the Northwest.
 Visa is the largest consumer card payment system in the world. It has more than 10 million acceptance locations, the leading global ATM network and issuance of 291 million debit and credit cards worldwide, including 144 million in the United States.
 -0- 12~2~92
 ~CONTACT: Debbe Stern of Visa U.S.A., 415-570-3510; or Marc Evanger of Quality Food Centers, 206-455-3761~


CO: Visa U.S.A.; Quality Food Centers; Seafirst Corp. ST: Washington IN: REA FIN SU: JVN

SG -- SF002 -- 2813 12~02~92 10:31 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 30, 1992
Words:565
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