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A 7-Eleven store in Austin, Texas was the site yesterday for the introduction of 7-Eleven’s ‘Financial Service Center’. The new, self-serve technology cashes checks, sends money transfers and accepts cash or bank cards for purchases of items like money orders and phone cards, in addition to providing standard ATM services. To create the ‘FSC’ 7-Eleven collaborated with Affiliated Computer Services, NCR Corp and Western Union Financial Services. 7-Eleven says it will install the new machines in all 37 Austin stores to test the concept before moving to a nationwide rollout. As a promotion 7-Eleven is waiving the check-cashing sign-up fee during the first month of operation and allowing customers to cash their first six payroll checks free.

FULL STORY:
For millions of busy Americans, check cashing, wiring money and other financial transactions could become a lot easier with the introduction Tuesday of the world’s first fully automated Financial Services Center (FSC) at a 7-Eleven convenience store in Austin, Texas.

This new self-service technology cashes checks, sends money transfers and accepts cash or bank cards for purchases of items like money orders and phone cards, in addition to providing standard ATM services. To encourage initial customer use, 7-Eleven is waiving the check-cashing sign-up fee during the first month of operation and allowing customers to cash their first six payroll checks free.

“We are installing the new machines in all 37 7-Eleven stores in the Austin area to test the concept before possibly expanding it nationwide,” said Clark Matthews, president and CEO of The Southland Corporation, operator of 7-Eleven stores. “While these new services will appeal particularly to `unbanked’ customers, we believe a broad range of individuals will benefit from the convenience of 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year service and the many 7-Eleven store locations.”

7-Eleven envisioned the idea of a fully automated services center as the next logical step in customer convenience. Dallas-based Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) then took this concept and proposed a design for a fully integrated, self-service center. NCR Corporation developed and integrated the new self-service solution, and Western Union Financial Services provided money order and money transfer services.

“This major collaborative effort among 7-Eleven, ACS, NCR and Western Union is a redefining step forward in electronic commerce,” said Matthews. “The Financial Services Center will allow customers — for the first time — to obtain many financial and other services in a single, integrated platform.”

Customers can use a simple, menu-driven series of options available in English or Spanish to perform their transactions. Those who need personal attention or have questions — at the touch of a screen — are able to see and speak with a bilingual customer service representative through the FSC’s interactive video capabilities.

“The system was designed by ACS and NCR to be flexible enough to support possible expansion into other services, including branch banking, vehicle registration, credit reports, and the issuance of airline tickets, smart cards, loans and insurance,” said Matthews. “In fact, virtually any type of product or service that can be sold by telephone, TV or ATM can be offered through the Financial Services Center.”

“7-Eleven’s reputation is built on customer convenience, which is the real strength behind this innovative new Financial Services Center,” said Jeff Rich, ACS president. “Bank customers have long enjoyed the convenience of 24-hour access to ATMs. Now, even individuals without bank cards can have that same around-the-clock access to financial services.”

NCR Chairman and CEO Lars Nyberg added, “This is a new era of consumer services where technology can be used to provide a competitive advantage to retailers like 7-Eleven. NCR’s self-service solutions provide an exciting new channel through which 7-Eleven can interact with its customers. NCR is automating the convenient delivery of products and services, which helps to build long-term, profitable relationships.”

“This automated Financial Services Center concept is an ideal match for the services Western Union provides,” said Doug McNary, president of Western Union North America. “Like 7-Eleven, our focus is on unbanked consumers who are looking for a fast and convenient way to take care of their financial needs. Now, these consumers will be able to use their neighborhood 7-Eleven store to send money to family and friends in more than 140 countries around the world or buy a money order to pay a bill — all with the touch of a few buttons.”

Check-cashing customers will enroll in the new service in much the same way they currently do at manned centers, except that the process will be handled electronically. Using the video terminal, customers will furnish suitable identification, have their picture taken for future verification, be issued a membership number and obtain approval of checks.

After that, customers can simply use their membership number to cash checks from check issuers who have been approved at any 7-Eleven with a FSC, privately and securely. They can also purchase a variety of products by debit card or cash, with change returned to the penny.

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