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ACI Keeps Barclays at the Top of its Game

For 20 years Barclaycard has used ACI’s BASE24 software to manage point-of-sale terminals, route and switch transactions. By any measure, the Heart-and-lungs operation at Barclaycard is healthy. For nearly 20 years, the world’s 13th largest bank has used BASE24 software to manage point-of-sale terminals, route on-us transactions to their host for authorization, and switch not-on-us transactions to other issuers. In 2003 they processed 1.8 billion transactions on BASE24, more than 8 million of them during a single day in December. Ten years earlier, their peak day totaled 1 million transactions.

Leading Change

The performance bar has always been high at Barclays. In 1959 they became the first UK bank to order a computer. In 1966 they issued the first UK credit card. Their Visa-branded card became so popular that consumers in England today still refer to Visa cards as Barclaycards. In 1987 the bank issued the first UK debit card. As the largest card issuer in Europe, Barclays will make a huge investment over the next few years as UK banks complete the migration of all their debit and credit cards from magnetic stripe to chip. The government-backed project is aimed at reducing plastic card fraud, which is projected to reach more than 800 million pounds Sterling by 2005.

Mobile Top-Up

At the same time they evolve payment cards to chip, Barclaycard is updating a service that allows consumers to top up prepaid mobile phone accounts. With online real-time interfaces to all six telcos that offer mobile top-up, Barclays has deployed software so that in addition to swiping credit cards at merchant locations, customers can swipe their mobile phone card, enter the amount of top-up they want, give their money to the cashier and complete the transaction with no paper vouchers and no codes to key in.

Leveraging a Partnership

The move to ACI’s top-up solution is part of a broader strategy to leverage partners. “The BASE24 product that we use is really the best,” said Colin Hudson, Head of Change Delivery for Barclaycard Corporate. “We chose it for it’s world-leading availability. That’s a very attractive benefit to large organizations.” 

Barclays helped ACI define an extended performance version of BASE24 in the late 1980s.  Designed to process high volumes more efficiently, it helped Barclaycard meet their business needs and ultimately yielded a stronger product plan for mainstream BASE24, which Barclaycard uses today.


Largest Bank in the World


Annual Transactions Processed on BASE24


Transactions Processed on a Single Day in December