BoA, First Data create joint venture

BANK of America (BoA), the largest US bank, and First Data Corp have created a joint venture to offer electronic payment services to merchants, the companies said yesterday.<br /><br />The venture will combine BoA&rsquo;s brand name -- and its 240,000 merchant relationships -- with First Data&rsquo;s payment services technology, said Thomas Bell, chief executive of the new company.<br /><br />The business will market credit, debit and prepaid cards as well as merchant loyalty, check and online payment processing. Products will be offered to small business, commercial and corporate clients worldwide.<br /><br />Atlanta-based First Data was attracted to the tie-up because of the strength of Bank of America&rsquo;s brand, its distribution network and client relationships, Bell explained.<br /><br />First Data is bringing about 140,000 merchant relationships to the new company, Bank of America Merchant Services. <br /><br />&ldquo;This was basically a carve-out of a portion of our merchants to equal what the bank was putting in,&rdquo; Bell said. BoA owns 46.5 per cent of the venture, with First Data taking a 48.5 per cent interest.