Equens was elected by the Finnish OP-Pohjola Group as new card processing partner. Both parties signed a long-lasting contract for card services.
It is highly exceptional that a bank actually acts upon the SEPA European level playing field by switching from processor. With OP-Pohjola as new client for card-related processing services Equens will create a clear footprint in the Northern European cards market. Expectations are that the first card transactions will be processed in Q4 2014.
OP-Pohjola, the leading financial services group in Finland, already had an agreement with Equens for the processing of SEPA payments as well as their regular cross-border euro payments since 2008. With this new agreement OP-Pohjola Group will also entrust their debit and Visa Electron card processing to Equens.
"In card payments, Finland is a superpower where cards have established their position as an easy and safe means of payment. Co-operation with Equens is part of our plan to develop and improve the efficiency of our card services further as well as to improve our capability to respond to our customers' changing needs" states Kasimir Hirn, director of the cards and payments business at OP-Pohjola.
This agreement with OP-Pohjola seamlessly fits Equens' European growth strategy. It offers an outstanding opportunity to establish a solid position in the Scandinavian cards market and will substantially strengthen the company's position as one of the top-three European card and payment processors. Equens already has a strong position in the Dutch and Italian cards market, which was extended in 2010 with the acquisition of their German subsidiary montrada GmbH that also has acquiring business in Poland.
Michael Steinbach, CEO Equens: "We are proud of the fact that OP-Pohjola selected us as their new processing partner for card services. It clearly proves our capabilities in the cards area, and it demonstrates their trust in our company and satisfaction regarding the services we have been providing to them during the past years."
The card services for OP-Pohjola will run over Equens' proven infrastructure that has already been in place for years.
Besides optimisation of systems and infrastructures to create maximum synergy, Equens always ensures local presence to be well-connected and close to their strategic clients. The company already opened an office in Helsinki in 2007. In order to optimally serve OP-Pohjola Group and its customers, Equens will expand its existing presence in Helsinki by adding operational functions, to ensure local customer service delivery.
Equens is one of Europe's largest card and payment processors, with an annual processing volume of 10.4 billion payments and 4.4 billion card transactions. The company operates over 61 million payment cards, 873,000 payment terminals and 21,000 ATMs.