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NEW YORK - Doing business just got easier for thousands of Verizon customers who now can pay their phone bills when they buy a newspaper or a cup of coffee at 7-Eleven.
At 400 7-Eleven® stores equipped with VcomTM electronic kiosks, Verizon local phone service customers can now pay their bill, order services like Caller ID and Home Voice Mail, and request repair service. By June, 1,000 7-Eleven kiosks equipped for Verizon transactions will be operating. The kiosks are located in Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Washington, D.C. Lighted Vcom signs are posted at participating 7-Eleven stores.
This is the first agreement in the United States between a convenience store company and a telecommunications company to provide online bill payment and service orders.
"Verizon is extending the convenience and flexibility of online transactions to those of our customers who don't have home Internet access," said Bill Freeman, president of Verizon's Public Communications group. "7-Eleven is an ideal partner for this service. Like Verizon, 7-Eleven has a national footprint and is customer-focused."
Vcom, which stands for "virtual commerce," is 7-Eleven stores' proprietary machine that offers ATM capabilities and touch-screen convenience to provide customers with financial and other services 24 hours a day. It is unique among kiosks because of the variety of offerings on a single device. Currently, customers can conduct ATM transactions, cash checks, and purchase money orders and money transfers; and soon they will be able to pay certain bills online. Based upon the performance of the initial 1,000 kiosks, the company may deploy 2,500 more units.
Verizon customers using the kiosks can view and pay their bills in cash, request and track a telephone repair, and order and track several optional services including Home Voice Mail, Call Waiting, Call Forwarding, Three-Way Calling, Automatic Call Return (*69), Caller ID and Call Block.
Customers will have the option of conducting their business in Spanish as well as English. This is Verizon's first online, interactive application in Spanish.
"Both Verizon and 7-Eleven have large customer bases and, together, we are focused on bringing consumers more convenience," said Jay Giesen, managing director of 7-Eleven's Vcom. "Providing Verizon services on Vcom gives our customers a new way to pay their Verizon phone bill and order services. It also puts us another step closer to our vision for Vcom, which is to offer a vast array of financial and online shopping services conveniently, round the clock."
To conduct a Verizon transaction, customers first need to register at a Vcom kiosk using account information from their latest Verizon phone bill to establish a user name and password. Customers already registered at www.verizon.com can use their existing user name and password online at the 7-Eleven kiosks. This also works in reverse: a user name and password set up at a kiosk can be used to conduct a transaction online at home.
Each Vcom machine has a help-line phone, operated and staffed 24 hours a day.
The kiosks will not be equipped to handle Verizon Wireless transactions. However, customers who receive a single bill for their wireline and wireless services may pay their bill at a Vcom kiosk.
Initially, 7-Eleven will accept only cash bill payments at the kiosks. The company is considering adding other payment options such as credit and debit cards and money orders in the coming months.
The Vcom kiosk agreement is the latest marketing alliance between Verizon and
7-Eleven. Verizon is the exclusive payphone provider at 7-Eleven's 2,000 company-operated stores and at most of its 3,300 franchise stores. Last year Verizon became the preferred provider of prepaid calling cards at all 5,300 U.S. 7-Eleven stores.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 135.8 million access line equivalents and 32.5 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and 229,500 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to 33 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.
7-Eleven, Inc.(NYSE: SE) is the premier name and largest chain in the convenience retailing industry. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, 7-Eleven, Inc. operates or franchises approximately 5,800 7-Eleven(r) stores in the United States and Canada and licenses more than 18,500 7-Eleven(r) stores in 17 other countries and U.S. territories throughout the world. During 2002, 7-Eleven® stores worldwide generated total sales of more than $33 billion. Find out more online at www.7-Eleven.com.