Business Week: First Data and Concord: A power marriage

Olga Kharif reports on FDC’s plan to merge with Concord EFS.

Here’s what makes the proposition so potentially attractive: Most debit- and credit-card transactions today can be completed only by using Visa and MasterCard networks, regardless of what type or brand of credit, bank, charge, or debit card is used. First Data and Concord might be able to authenticate a credit card at a store, for example, or verify that the purchaser has sufficient funds in his account to make a purchase, but they often need Visa’s help to get the money transferred from the customer’s bank account into the merchant’s. But Concord’s national client base of some 6,500 banks and the companies’ combined nationwide network through which to route transactions could give First Data the ability to accept and issue debit and credit cards, and complete nearly all transactions without help from Visa or MasterCard.

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