Magazine article American Banker

Global Payments to Buy Processor in Eastern Europe

Magazine article American Banker

Global Payments to Buy Processor in Eastern Europe

Article excerpt

To expand in Eastern Europe, Global Payments Inc. reached a deal to acquire the assets of Diginet d.o.o., an automated teller machine and merchant point of sale transaction processor in Sarajevo.

The deal is expected to close next quarter. The Atlanta transaction processor announced it Wednesday but did not give a price.

Carl Williams, Global Payments' president of worldwide payment processing, said in an interview Wednesday that Eastern Europe, whose credit card industry is "far less mature" than Western Europe's, is an attractive target for U.S. processors.

"The use of credit cards and debit cards are growing at high double-digit rates" in Eastern Europe, he said. "There's just widespread optimism, with lots of consumers who are starting to understand the value of credit."

Diginet works directly with banks that offer credit and debit card transaction processing services, sales, installation, and servicing of ATM and point of sale terminals, and card issuing services. Mr. Williams called the company an "indirect payment processor," because it does not have direct relationships with merchants.

It would become part of Global Payments Europe, the unit that the company formed in 2004 by buying Muzo AS, the No. 1 indirect payment processor in the Czech Republic.

Other U.S. processors have been expanding in Europe. In June, First Data Corp. acquired GZS Gesellschaft fur Zahlungssysteme mbH, Germany's No. 1 transaction processor. In November, First Data bought Austrian Payment Systems Services GmbH, that country's leading transaction processor, and said the purchase was aimed at boosting its operations in Central and Eastern Europe.

In March of last year Total System Services Inc. said it had signed a contract to process ABN Amro Holding NV's Dutch consumer and commercial credit card portfolios, its first issuer processing agreement in Continental Europe. …

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