Equal Access

Public PCs

You already know all the ways computers can make money for your business-boosting productivity, increasing your professionalism and more. But now there's a new way to profit from computers: by setting one up in your business for customers to use.

USA Technologies and Dell Computer have teamed up to create the Credit Card Computer Express system, which allows customers to use a computer on a pay-as-they-go basis via credit card. Besides a convenient payment system, one of the biggest advantages is that unlike computer rentals at most copy and printing centers, Credit Card Computer Express also offers access to online services.

"There's a real need for people in the community to have access to computers," explains George R. Jensen Jr., president of USA Technologies in Wayne, Pennsylvania.

Jensen points to a USA Today article that reports 60 percent of U.S. households can't afford PCs. With computer access still so limited, Jensen sees a great opportunity for small-business owners. The computer system generates increased traffic and revenue (usage fees are determined by the individual business); what's more, it can run unattended, so you don't need to hire additional employees. Businesses buy the computers under a lease agreement and receive 80 percent of transaction revenues as well as 24-hour support.

Customers just swipe their credit cards through a slot to take advantage of word processing, desktop publishing and printing features, or just cruise one of the six available online services.

At least 150 credit card-activated computers are expected to be open for business by August. For more information, call (800) 633-0340.

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This article was originally published in the July 1996 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Equal Access.

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