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AUSTIN, Texas - 7-Eleven Inc. is launching a pilot test of the new Vcom financial kiosk in Austin and Temple/Killeen, Texas. An aggressive marketing effort and in-store greeters will promote customer awareness and trial of the service. Thirty-six stores in Fort Myers and Naples, Fla., are also part of the test.
Vcom is 7-Eleven stores' web-enabled, integrated financial services kiosk that merges ATM capabilities with the flexibility of Internet-based applications and 24-hour, touch-screen convenience. The current capabilities of the kiosks include ATM transactions, Western Union money orders and money transfers and check cashing through Certegy Check Services, a division of Certegy Inc. Future services may include telecommunications products and services, bill payment, event ticketing, travel directions and road maps.
During the pilot, 7-Eleven is offering free check-cashing membership enrollment and promoting the new service through advertising, in-store signs and special events ... all aimed at consumers who use a check-cashing service. Also during the test period, a new customer's first two payroll checks will be cashed free. According to recent industry publications, 30 million people cash 180 million checks valued in excess of $55 billion at check-cashing establishments.
A "proof-of-concept" test of Vcom was first launched in early 1998, when 7-Eleven tested its Financial Services Centers in 37 Austin-area stores. Since then, the system has evolved to a smaller, Web-enabled kiosk that provides significantly faster transactions and will offer a wide variety of services in the future.
"Self-service check cashing on Vcom is another innovation in 7-Eleven's 75-year history of defining convenience," said Otis Peaks, vice president of 7-Eleven stores' Central division, which includes Texas. "We know thousands of our customers cash checks somewhere else but shop at 7-Eleven for basic purchases. By offering check cashing on Vcom, we're saving them time and an additional stop. This is a good customer value and it just makes sense."
To use the Vcom check-cashing service, a customer applies for membership and is immediately issued a Vcom card. Thereafter, the member can access the fully automated check-cashing service simply by inserting the card and check into the Vcom kiosk, then entering their PIN and pertinent information about the check via the touch screen. In moments the check is verified, authorized and, if approved, the customer receives the cash, minus a transaction fee. The membership requirements and transactions fees are comparable to other check-cashing establishments, but the typical Vcom self-service transaction takes less than two minutes.