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Transaction Network Services & BNP Paribas provide French retailers with a freephone service and faster transaction times

Merchants across France are set to start reaping the rewards of a new freephone transaction service from BNP Paribas, the leading banking group in Euroland, due to a pioneering partnership with Transaction Network Services (TNS). The deal enables the authorization and capture of POS (Point of Sale) credit and debit card payments as part of a freephone service, the first of its kind ever to be provided to the French market.

Under the new agreement, 65,000 POS terminals at shops and retail outlets across France will migrate to a freephone model without the need for hardware or software alterations and, significantly, at no personal cost to the merchant as is the case with previous traditional networks.

During the past two years, TNS has worked extensively with BNP Paribas to tailor existing transaction technology to meet the bank's particular requirements, and has undertaken extensive testing with over 400 of the bank's POS terminals. Following the success of the trial, the migration of 65,000 terminals onto the network has now started and will be complete within three months.

TNS' commitment to BNP Paribas means the bank can offer their customers significantly faster transaction times than has been previously possible, reducing authorisation times by 4 seconds (from 21 seconds to 17 seconds).

Currently in France, merchants pay for all their communications costs associated with the authorisation and capture of POS transactions. Through migration to the freephone network, TNS is enabling BNP Paribas to remove the burden of merchants having to pay for communications costs and instead present them with a package which directly passes on the whole of the telecommunications cost saving.

One of the key requirements was the provision of management information tools-BNP Paribas now receives real-time management information from TNS about all transactions passing through its network. This allows the monitoring of each transaction and the performance of each POS terminal connected to the network, helping BNP to provide a more proactive response to their retailers' needs.

Robert Tréhin, Senior Vice President & Managing Director for TNS France commented: "We have enabled BNP Paribas to be the first bank in France to offer its merchants the benefits of a freephone POS authorisation service. The growth potential for TNS' services in France and throughout Europe is phenomenal and winning BNP Paribas as a client helps to affirm our position as a leading provider of transaction solutions."

-The bank is already benefiting from our approach which supports its own strategic aims and aspirations for market growth. Through our team in Paris and the TNS European Management Centre, we will continue to work closely with them to help them stay ahead in their marketplace."
Gilbert Arira, Head of Payment Services, BNP Paribas said: "As a bank we decided to make fundamental changes in order to offer improved services to merchants. We were initially attracted to TNS by the retailer benefits made possible by technology. The pilot programme proved a great success, resulting in a deployment phase that will allow BNP Paribas' entire POS network population to be upgraded to TNS in a very short timeframe.

"In addition to providing merchants with the benefit of faster transaction times, we needed a system that presented maximum security and reliability. TNS delivered on all counts and put in place a network which gives retailers access to the same benefits and levels of service that are widely available in the USA and UK, ensuring that we offer a world class service to our customers."

About Transaction Network Services

Transaction Network Services is one of the world's leading providers of fast, cost effective data communications services for transaction-oriented applications. Since its inception in 1990, TNS has designed the fastest, most reliable and lowest cost network for the transport of transaction-oriented data. This proprietary network technology has been deployed worldwide and has become the preferred network service in the card processing and dial-up ATM markets. TNS switched over 10 billion transactions in 2001.

TNS has built up an international network of facilities, supplemented by services from other international carriers, offering unrivalled support to its customers. In addition to Spain, TNS has international operations in the following countries : Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, Sweden, United Kingdom and USA.

In the above locations, TNS has in-country networks and interconnect agreements with local PTTs or alternative carriers and can provide its full range of transaction network services. TNS can also provide transaction network connectivity in a wide-range of other countries, using telephony facilities provided by third parties and managed by TNS.

TNS provides dial-up and ISDN access for POS, ATM and other transactions, making TNS a one-stop service provider meeting the world-wide needs of the card processing industry.

For further information about TNS' transaction solutions please refer to their website or e-mail solutions [at] tnsi (dot) com
About BNP Paribas

BNP Paribas is the leading banking group in Euroland, in terms of earnings and market capitalisation and has one of the world's largest international networks, extending in more than 85 countries. BNP Paribas is a major player in retail banking, corporate and investment banking, private banking and asset management. The Paris-based company commands strong positions in Europe and plays a pre-eminent role in Asia and North and South America. It has more than 2200 branches and a network of 2700 ATM's. It is number one in France in e-banking. 80 of the world's top 100 companies have chosen BNP Paribas as their banker.