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CIRCLE K SELECTS INTERLINK FOR DEBIT PILOT PROGRAM

 SAN FRANCISCO, March 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Interlink Network announced today that Circle K Corp. is currently testing the acceptance of Interlink cards as a payment option in 23 of its Las Vegas-based stores.
 Circle K joins 7,000 other merchants which accept Interlink and is the second national retailer to implement a pilot program within the last two months. Interlink Network, a subsidiary of Visa U.S.A., is the world's largest on-line, direct-debit program. Consumers carrying Interlink cards can use them to make purchases wherever the Interlink logo is displayed, with the transaction amounts deducted from their checking accounts.
 "Now that financial institutions are increasingly adding the Interlink logo to their ATM cards, interest is building among consumers to use the cards for purchases," said Linda Manson, electronic services manager of Circle K. "It is the convergence of key elements -- available product and technology as well as consumer interest -- that makes the environment right for an Interlink program."
 Manson further noted that the company is examining the potential for rolling out Interlink programs in other Circle K stores.
 According to Mark Bafik, vice president and lead product manager of First Interstate Bank (NYSE: I), which is providing Interlink processing services to Circle K, merchants are increasingly viewing Interlink as a viable alternative to cash and checks.
 "Interlink is in the spotlight. With the number of Interlink cardholders growing, more merchants are ready and willing to implement Interlink programs," said Bafik. "As an advisor to merchants, we are continuing to increase their awareness of the value of on-line debit programs. In particular, we point out that these programs provide greater payment options to their customers and offer merchants another way to improve their bottom lines. On-line debit cards help increase sales volume, strengthen customer service and reduce the merchant's cost of handling cash and checks."
 Wesley C. Tallman, president and chief executive officer of Interlink Network, added, "With two new pilot programs announced since January, Interlink is off to a great start in building a strong national merchant base, one of our top priorities in 1993."
 The Circle K Corp. operates approximately 2,990 stores, which are concentrated in the Sun Belt area.
 First Interstate is the 12th largest commercial banking company in the United States. Its 993 domestic offices in 13 Western states serve individuals, small businesses, middle market companies and selected large corporations and financial institutions. First Interstate provides quality common financial products and services marketed at the local level to nearly five million households in over 500 Western U.S. communities.
 Following its acquisition of Interlink Network in the fall of 1991, Visa U.S.A. expanded Interlink, which had been operational in five Western states, nationwide. Recently Interlink reported that, during the second half of 1992, the number of cardholders increased 28 percent to 16 million.
 As the largest direct-debit, point-of-sale (POS) network in the world, Interlink processes more than half of all direct-debit POS transactions conducted in the U.S. Interlink averages 325,000 daily transactions.
 -0- 3/2/93
 /CONTACT: Tricia Wiseman of Interlink Network, 415-570-3510; or Linda Manson of Circle K, 602-253-9600; or Mark Bafik of First Interstate Bank, 213-614-5132/
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CO: Interlink Network; Circle K Corp.; First Interstate Bank;
 Visa U.S.A. ST: California IN: FIN REA SU:


SG -- SF010 -- 2079 03/02/93 15:24 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 2, 1993
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