ARLINGTON, Va. – The practice of paying employees by adding money to payment cards that they can then use at ATMs or, if the cards have card association logos, anywhere that Visa and Mastercard are accepted continues to grow. Sears Roebuck announced recently that it would allow it employees at its 870 stores the option of being paid through an ATM card that they will be able to use at cash machines or at point of sale (POS) terminals. MasterCard has announced that is has a suite of cards that five of its member banks will offer to commercial clients. Visa has been offering the cards for about a year and reported having 18 issuers. Bank of America Corp. has been offering payroll cards since 1998, and now and reported having more than 600 clients, issuing cards to nearly 100,000 customers. Commercial interest in the product has increased since Visa and MasterCard began allowing their logos to be applied to the cards, according to Joseph Lyons, manager of prepaid cards for the Charlotte, N.C. based firm.

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