COLES MYER IS RINGING UP NEW FASTER-PAYMENT TERMINALS

TOORONGA, Australia -- Coles Myer here will roll out electronic payments terminals to 600 Coles Supermarkets in 60 days, with each terminal featuring capability designed to speed productivity.Greg Every, general manager of retail services at Coles Myer, said a distinguishing feature of the new devices is their ability to process electronic transactions while a customer order is being scanned -- rather

TOORONGA, Australia -- Coles Myer here will roll out electronic payments terminals to 600 Coles Supermarkets in 60 days, with each terminal featuring capability designed to speed productivity.

Greg Every, general manager of retail services at Coles Myer, said a distinguishing feature of the new devices is their ability to process electronic transactions while a customer order is being scanned -- rather than after the order is totaled, which is more often the case.

The devices are currently being pilot-tested at stores in six Australian states, with system-wide rollout scheduled for completion in February, according to a source familiar with the project.

Shoppers in the test stores can initiate the electronic payment process immediately, as the cashier begins scanning the order. Because many customers prefer to withdraw additional pocket cash when using electronic payments systems, they frequently key in an amount greater than the total they estimate for purchases.

The terminals are integrated with the point of sale, which indicates to the cashier whether the customer is due change because the amount withdrawn exceeds the order total, or if the customer estimated too low, and must now pay the difference.

Giving shoppers the option to initiate the electronic payments process earlier in the transaction has speeded up the checkout lane, Coles Myer said.

"It improves service to customers by giving them control of the electronic funds transfer point-of-sale transaction, and reduces the time spent waiting in the queues," Every said.

The terminals, which also have smart-card capability, were developed by Intellect, Perth, Australia, and provided through NCR, Dayton, Ohio.