Kuwait Finance House has contracted with First Data Europe to provide electronic transaction processing for both its card issuing and merchant acquirer divisions.
Under the agreement, First Data will provide both traditional processing and enhanced smart card services, in time for the country’s 2004 deadline for conversion from magnetic stripe to chip.
Jasser Al-Jasser, general manager, Kuwait Finance House, says: "First Data impressed us with their EMV capabilities and their proven expertise in platform conversion."
First Data, which also provides full transaction processing for the National Bank of Kuwait, says it will continue to seize market share in the Middle East and reinforce its client base as the region moves closer to the deadline for card conversion.
First Data began supporting the issuance of smart cards in 1997 when it teamed up with a number of the UK’s largest banks to participate in an Apacs (Association for Payment Clearing Services) trial in the UK, supporting UKIS, a UK subset of the EMV smart card standards drawn up by Europay, MasterCard and Visa.