First Data Corp. has changed the trading name of its UK subsidiary FDR Limited to "First Data Europe," as part of an initiative to accelerate its expansion into the European electronic payments market.
Currently, First Data Europe serves more then 50 financial institutions, 450,000 merchant locations, and 28 million cardholders in the UK, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and the Middle East.
First Data says Europe's move toward a cashless society is one of the factors driving its European expansion programme. 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, says the company. A new Frost & Sullivan report indicates smart card shipments in Europe will continue to rise from $794.6 million in 1999, to $2.05 billion in 2006, with revenues jumping from $1.2 billion, to $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.