First Data inks card processing deal with DBS Bank

The company will provide credit card and merchant processing services to the Singapore bank in a new multi-year deal, paving the way for its expansion plans in the region.

SINGAPORE--DBS Bank has engaged e-commerce and payment services provider First Data to manage its credit card and merchant processing services.

According to First Data's chairman and director for Australia, New Zealand and South Asia Greg Nash, the contract is worth "multi-millions" in local currency each year and lasts over 10 years.

With the deal, First Data will establish a Southeast Asian headquarters in the island-state by next month. The US-based company also intends to build up a staff strength of 100 solely dedicated to the project, Nash told ZDNet Asia in an interview last week. He added that up to 50 personnel with expertise in First Data's VisionPLUS transaction processing software will relocate to Singapore from its Pacific and South Asia headquarters in Sydney, while the remaining staff--systems architects, programmers, business analysts--will be recruited over the next three months.

Nash said that DBS, which has over 2 million credit card accounts in the region, has been a VisionPLUS customer since 1999, but only just opted to outsource its credit card processing functions.

He added that Singapore will be a starting point to broaden First Data's footprint in the South Asia region. Tthe company plans to invest around S$20 million (US$11.9 million) in the island-state over the next two to three years, he noted.

Nash said that besides Singapore, First Data has set its sights on breaking into other Southeast Asian markets such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam, through leveraging the presence of its subsidiary Western Union in these countries. It also hopes to expand further in India, where it already has a partnership with a bank.

The company plans to roll out its VisionPLUS software in the countries where it has yet to penetrate, as well as make investments in the ATM space and in emerging technologies such as mobile payment.

Currently, about 25 percent of First Data's revenue is derived from markets outside the United States, Nash revealed. He is targeting to increase this figure to one-third of the company's total revenue by end-2007. The Asia-Pacific region, he estimates, will contribute to this growth, with First Data's market share in the payment area to grow "by 50 percent over the coming two to three years".

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