October 2005 –Frank Booty, industry reporter
This year sees 3X Software celebrate its 21st birthday. 3X has been developing software for the IBM midrange for all these years. The company is now undergoing a few changes and getting itself ready for what will hopefully be another 21 years. One of its founders has retired. Two new members have been introduced into the management team; director Karen Davies in the day-to-day running of the business and Martin Chatwin in an advisory role. Further, the company has recently opened a North Wales branch in addition to its Manchester office.

Karen Davies says: “Over the years, 3X Software has seen the arrival of systems such as System/34, /36, /38, AS/400, System i and now i5. The only name that’s remained familiar is RPG, even though that has gone through changes over the years, but the name has stayed more or less the same”. 3X has worked with companies from all business sectors. Its customers range from those in the retail, insurance, mail order shopping and manufacturing markets to oil refineries. The company’s main products now consist of its credit/debit and purchasing card payment software and postal address management system, but over the years there have been many others. The company also offers bespoke programming, maintenance and support and with “the 21 years of experience under our belts, you can be sure that customers will be putting their systems into safe hands,” says Davies.

3X Software has recently been recognised by IBM and has gained advanced status within the PartnerWorld for Industry Networks program.

Most recently the company provided an upgrade of its EFT/400 credit/debit card payment software at Endsleigh Insurance.
“We were very proud of the feedback we had from our customer,” says Davies. After the project completion, the company asked Phil Jordan, senior systems business analyst at Endsleigh, for his view on how he felt the project had gone.

“Endsleigh is the leading UK insurance service for students and professionals and we have offered the ability to buy insurance online for several years,” said Jordan. “We wanted accreditation for e-commerce transactions and also for CV2/AVS to enable us to offer immediate card authorisation and insurance policy issue to our online customers while protecting against fraud. Customers are able to provide alternative payment for declined cards directly at the time of sale. Subject to our becoming accredited, our merchant service provider offered us the same low transaction charges for our internet business that we currently have for our traditional business.”

“3X Software made moving to version 5 of EFT/400 painless for us and the quality of development consultancy and the robust design of their system made the development and implementation path simple,” he said. “It’s been a complete success for us and we’re now in a position to roll out all of our product range for online sales, payment processing and automatic policy issue.”

“CV2/AVS relates to the banks’ card checking facility, where CV2 (also known as CSC) relates to the three digit security code printed on the signature strip of the credit/debit card, explains 3X Software’s senior developer, Ian Robinson. “AVS relates to ‘Address Verification Service’, where the bank verifies the cardholder’s address. Both the CV2 and AVS data (cardholder’s address) are verified at the same time the amount is authorised. This provides additional security for cardholder-not-present transactions.”

V5 of EFT/400 now includes the e-commerce message codes used to identify transactions processed over the internet. In addition, continuous authority/recurring transactions can know be processed (eg, monthly membership paid by credit card).

“Upgrading to V5 is now made easier by the automatic installation routine, which applies all the file changes to the customer ‘LIVE’ data file library,” said Robinson. “Previously, the customer had to manually create and apply any file changes by entering the appropriate command.”

“EFT/400 provides a credit card solution on the System i, without the need to interface to PC-based credit card processing systems. EFT/400 APIs allow the front-office software to be interfaced to EFT/400, while maintaining a consistent screen design. For a quicker installation process, EFT/400 can be used to process a card payment using pre-configured screens, to capture the card details, initiated by a single call to authorise an amount,” says Robinson.

EFT/400 has now been accredited with all the major banks and can process all the major card schemes, including Visa purchasing cards (where an electronic invoice is sent to the bank to be passed onto the cardholder).

“As far as I am aware, 3X Software is unique in offering an System i solution to credit card processing,” says Robinson.

With such strength in the financial marketplace, the System i once again appears to know no bounds.