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Link cashes in with IT network advice service

Cash machine operator Link is planning to bolster its revenues by offering technology consultancy and network provision services...

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Cash machine operator Link is planning to bolster its revenues by offering technology consultancy and network provision services in the UK and overseas.

Link is keen to use its national automated teller machine (ATM) network, which is used by all the UK's main banks and building societies, as a springboard into IT consultancy and services.

The company also plans to allow overseas ATM providers to plug into its network through a telecoms link, routing transactions and connecting separate cash machine networks within a country.

Link's plans to break into the consultancy market are part of a wider trend in financial services. Both the London Stock Exchange and London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange have launched technology consultancy subsidiaries over the past few years, marketing their trading platforms and experience in system development.

"We are looking at the extent to which we can leverage our network and see what else we can use these big pipes that we have for the big banks," said Scott Housley, head of corporate relations at Link.

"We are in reasonably advanced discussions in two or three places."

Earlier this year Computer Weekly revealed plans by Link to allow mobile phone users to top-up their pre-pay accounts at ATMs and last month it signed its first contract for the service with mobile operator Vodafone.

However, separate plans by Link to develop a real-time person-to-person payment system, using its ATM network, mobile phones or PCs, were still at an exploratory stage, Housley added.

Banks also have other large-scale industry projects to tackle, such as introducing chip-and-Pin technology across retail outlets, he said.

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