In order to meet SEPA framework requirements
and better serve a new class of ‘payment institutions’ created by
the European Commission’s Payment Services Directive (PSD),
electronic payment processing giant First Data has announced an
agreement with pan-European banking network EUFISERV with the
intention of expanding and developing the European interbank
processing network that is managed by the organisation.
Based in Brussels, EUFISERV is comprised of
fifteen shareholders, including twelve European banks and banking
organisations, and provides interbank switching of point of sale
(POS) and ATM transactions, including authorisation, clearing,
settlement and value-added services to payment card issuers,
acquirers and payment schemes. The agreement with First Data will
see the two companies work to further develop these services in
order to meet SEPA requirements.
The connecting of EUFISERV and First Data’s
existing payment networks will create the opportunity for customers
to access more than 74,000 ATMs, 1.5 million POS merchants and to
reach more than 165 million debit and credit card accounts in
Europe. The agreement will also see First Data acquire a 50 percent
equity stake in EUFISERV’s interbank processing business.
In light of the changes currently taking place
within the European financial services industry, both companies
believe that banks are looking for new options and they expect the
services they will be providing to prove attractive and relevant in
this new environment. EUFISERV’s history and experience within
interbank processing will complement the vast European reach of
First Data.
“First Data has been very active as a processor
for both issuers and acquirers of a wide variety of card and
consumer finance products,” said David Yates, president of First
Data’s international operations. “The European payments market is
changing rapidly and, with SEPA, we are seeing a redefinition of
national and international transactions as European domestic
transactions. This provides us with the opportunity to switch
transactions, on an integrated basis, between our clients and other
issuers or acquirers, to the benefit of all parties.”