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The Green Sheet Online Edition

January 14, 2008 • Issue 08:01:01

Swipe 'n shred, self-service fraud foiler

Underwriters Laboratories Inc., which has been testing and evaluating products to comply with safety standards for more than a century, recently certified RealTime Shredding's Self-Service Shredder.

According to RealTime, theirs is the first shredding kiosk designed specifically for consumer and business use to be given UL's stamp of approval.

Do you wonder what shredders have to do with merchant acquiring? Think value added service and security. Both can boost an ISO's or merchant level salesperson's bottom line.

In the summer of 2004, RealTime Shredding Inc. recognized an untapped market for an industrial-strength paper shredder that would be open to the public.

It landed on the idea of a shredding kiosk, where consumers could safely and securely shred their private information, rather than toss it into the dumpster for a thief to find.

The first test kiosk for The Self-Service Shredder was placed in a Colorado Springs, Colo., mall in September 2005. Early the next year, the kiosk was rolled out in several beta test markets to evaluate the public's reaction.

After further changes were made to the shredder, including customized antijam software with 5,000 lines of code, the kiosk was ready to go.

As of late December 2007, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and Fair and Accurate Transactions Act of 2003 compliant shredder was installed in over 50 locations, from malls to postal stores to schools to county government offices to banks, at a price tag of $6,500 and up.

John Podrovitz, Vice President of Business Services at RealTime Shredding and the man behind engineering and programming of the kiosk, said the shredder can destroy 50 pages in 35 to 40 seconds.

"It's so quiet that customers wonder if it's even on," he said. He estimated the kiosk has a lifespan of eight to 12 years, with little maintenance required.

The kiosk can be programmed to function free of charge, or to accept a fee for so many minutes of shredding time. For instance, a business can configure the shredder at $1 or $2 for two minutes of shredding time.

In that time alone, Podrovitz estimates, a customer could shred 300 to 500 pages. The kiosk can be tailored to accept cash and coins, or Visa Inc.- and MasterCard Worldwide-branded bank cards.

Podrovitz noted the shredder is designed for consumers as well as businesses. By shredding confidential documents in a fast, convenient and inexpensive way, the shredder helps consumers avoid identity theft, he said.

And, for businesses, the shredders generate revenue and increase foot traffic. "[The kiosk] draws in 300 to 500 people a month" at banks, Podrovitz said.

While Shelley Froggatte, Senior Vice President of Marketing for New Frontier Bank in Greeley, Colo., did not have statistics to substantiate that claim, she said the shredder installed in the foyer of the bank has been a great success. "We've gotten a ton of good comments on it," she said.

New Frontier offers the shredder as a free service to its customers.

According to Froggatte, the bank's administration was initially skeptical of the shredder's value.

But staff has since been won over, since the shredder brings in new customers, she said. The Self-Service Shredder shreds paper, cardboard, credit cards, paper clips, staples, CDs, DVDs and floppy disks. Is it time to talk shredding with your customers? end of article

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