In a move to accelerate its
expansion into the European electronic payments market, First Data Corp.
announced that it has changed the trading name of its UK
subsidiary FDR Limited to “First Data Europe,” which will focus on
driving continued European expansion across its card issuing services and
merchant processing businesses.
“First Data Europe is well positioned to capitalise on the strong growth
in European electronic payments by virtue of our unmatched experience, our
market scope and technological strength,” said Gerald Hawkins, chief executive
officer of First Data Europe. “As the leading processor of electronic
payments in Europe, we are already the processor of choice for a number of
European financial institutions. The new name provides the catalyst to drive
the organisation to further solidify our position and greatly expand on it.”
Currently, First Data Europe serves more then 50 financial institutions,
450,000 merchant locations, and 28 million cardholders in the United Kingdom,
Germany, Spain, The Netherlands and the Middle East. First Data Europe is
also the European leader in Internet card processing.
Europe’s move toward a cashless society is one of the factors driving
First Data’s expansion on the Continent. According to The Nilson Report,
European credit card transaction volume was up over 16 percent in 1999, with a
total of 10 billion transactions worth more than $US 230 billion — an
increase of close to 19 percent.
Additionally, Europe is the driving force behind smart card growth. A new
Frost & Sullivan report indicates smart card shipments in Europe will continue
to rise from $US 794.6 million in 1999, to $US 2.05 billion in 2006, with
revenues jumping from $US 1.2 billion, to $US 4.2 billion in the same period.
First Data Europe already processes nearly seven million smart card accounts,
which is expected to grow to 10 million by year-end 2001.
Other trends fueling First Data Europe’s opportunities include bank de-
regulation, which is well under way in most European Union countries. Many
banks are finding that outsourcing card processing is an attractive option in
an increasingly competitive market.
“Because we enable businesses and consumers to pay anyone-anywhere-
anytime, using any device that gets them online, we are helping to deliver on
the promise of the Internet — which is growing rapidly in the European
market,” said Hawkins. “In addition, we have initiated a $50 million
investment in our technology, which will give us the functionality and
bandwidth that makes First Data Europe an attractive partner for financial
First Data A Business without Boundaries
All of First Data’s businesses have continued to expand their transaction
processing and payments services leadership across borders. In addition to
Europe, First Data’s card issuing services and merchant processing operations
are today active in Australia, Canada, Mexico, Panama, the Dominican Republic
and South America. Each year, First Data processes more than 13 billion
electronic payment transactions worldwide.
First Data Europe intends to leverage its already strong presence in two
of the strongest European economies – Spain and Germany, where the company has
dedicated offices and significant client relationships.
* First Data Europe has provided credit and debit card-processing
services in Germany through an agreement with
BayerischeHypothekenWechselBank AG (Hypo Bank) since 1996. In 1998,
Hypo Bank merged with Bayerische Vereinsbank AG to create the second
largest bank in Germany, HypoVereinsbank. First Data Europe now
processes approximately one million accounts for its six German clients
who also include Advance Bank and Dresdner Bank.
* First Data began its operations in Spain — First Data Iberica —
through a joint venture with NISA (Negocios Informaticos, S.A.) in
1997. NISA is the largest card processor in Spain’s oil services
market. In 2000, First Data Iberica, with its main office in Spain,
processed more than 90 million transactions on behalf of merchants and
held 360,000 cardholder accounts on file.
* Additionally, First Data Europe has a growing presence in the Middle
East with Riyadh Bank and Arab National Bank.
First Data’s merchant processing operation currently handles all
transaction processing for Lloyds TSB and HSBC in the United Kingdom. In
addition to its UK operations, First Data is adding dedicated staff in
merchant acquiring services in Germany and Italy and is focusing additional
resources on European business development.
“Europe is an exciting example of explosive international growth that is
underway in every facet of our business, coming from virtually every corner of
the world,” said Eula Adams, executive vice president of First Data. “The
increasing use of e-payments and country-to-country migration are some of the
trends that make First Data today a dynamic global growth company.”
First Data has achieved and is continuing aggressive international growth
through its Western Union money transfer business. Throughout Europe, Western
Union has more than 37,000 agent locations in more than 10,700 cities.
Atlanta-based First Data Corp. helps move the world’s money. As the
leader in electronic commerce and payment services, First Data serves more
than two million merchant locations, 1,400 card issuers and millions of
consumers, making it easier, faster and more secure for people and businesses
to buy goods and services using virtually any form of payment. With more than
27,000 employees worldwide, the company provides credit, debit and stored-
value card issuing and merchant transaction processing services; Internet
commerce solutions; Western Union money transfers and money orders; and check
processing and verification services throughout the United States, United
Kingdom, Australia, Mexico, Spain and Germany. Its money transfer agent
network includes approximately 101,000 locations in more than 185 countries