US e-payments outfit First Data is acquiring a 50% equity stake in the interbank processing unit of Europe's Eufiserv as it looks to cash in on the opportunities provided by the single euro payment area (Sepa). Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
Brussels-based Eufiserv is owned by savings banks from nine countries and by the European Savings Banks Group (ESBG). It provides inter-bank switching of PoS and ATM transactions, including authorisation, clearing, settlement and value-added services to payment card issuers, acquirers and schemes.
The US vendor has signed an agreement with the Eufiserv shareholders to buy a 50% stake in the interbank processing business and rename the venture. Fllowing the close of the transaction, Eufiserv products and services will be promoted through the First Data sales-force across Europe.
First Data says connecting its existing network in Europe with Euriserv "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 new venture will also be well positioned to provide services following the implementation of the European Commission's Payment Services Directive (PSD).
Commenting on the move, David Yates, president, international operations, First Data, says: "The European payments market is changing rapidly and, with Sepa, we are now 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."
Chris De Noose, MD, European Savings Bank Group and chairman of the board, Eufiserv, adds: "A strategic partnership between our two organisations positions us to grow our business strongly in the new market conditions created by Sepa."
Eufiserv spun off its card scheme into a separate company in 2006 to become compliant with the Sepa Cards Framework. Previously the ATM card service, now called Eufiserv Payments SCRL, was packaged with its payments processing services.