DENVER – Payment processing and e-commerce provider First Data Merchant Services, a subsidiary of First Data Corp., has launched direct connections to three of the nation’s regional debit networks. First Data’s front-end payment processing systems now switch on-line debit point-of-sale transactions directly to the NYCE, Pulse, and Star networks. Plans are underway for point-to-point links with the MAC and Interlink networks by third quarter. Currently processing over 550 million PIN-based debit POS transactions a year, the point-to-point connectivity allows First Data to reduce dependency upon third-party gateways services, improve online performance, and manage reconciliation of transactions. “Our direct debit strategy allows First Data Merchant Services to control the processing environment. We can respond faster to our financial institution and merchant customers,” said Steve VanFleet, senior vice president for product development and marketing. “For instance, we fund the online transactions to correspond with a merchant’s end of business day, making it transparent to the merchant and easier for reconciliation.” With First Data Corp.’s pending ownership position in NYCE, the company is exploring ways to expand payment new product offerings. According to VanFleet, the point-to-point connectivity fits into the company’s strategy for First Data Net, a proprietary system that will streamline the payment processing where First Data processes the origin and settlement of the transaction. First Data’s network control center will monitor debit networks just as it does credit card networks.

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