US e-payments firm First Data is in talks to acquire the card processing operations of Allied Irish Banks (AIB), according to a Sunday Times report.
First Data is thought to have made an approach to AIB and a proposal to take over the credit card operations could be tabled "within months".
AIB is Ireland's largest credit card provider with a 34% share of the market. According to the report, the bank stands to make substantial cost savings - which could run into "tens of millions" per annum - by outsourcing its credit card operations. If the deal goes ahead First Data would handle all aspects of the credit card and loan processing for AIB, apart from the issuing of cards.
Any deal on credit card processing at AIB is likely to be subject to negotiations with the Irish Bank Officials Association, says the Sunday Times. A spokesman for the union told reporters that they were unaware of the talks.
Earlier this year First Data inked a contract to provide credit card and loans processing services to Barclaycard in the UK.