JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Fidelity National Information Systems has teamed up with a rival in the credit card portfolio market to offer its client credit unions another avenue to surcharge-free ATM access.

The leading credit union card processor made the deal with Elan Financial Services, a subsidiary of US Bancorp and a frequent purchaser of CU card portfolios, often from CUs processing with FIS.

But the two firms put aside their card competition to cooperate on ATMs.

“Elan and FIS have shared a positive relationship due to our mutual ability to provide clients with innovative, competitively priced, high-quality products and services,” said Douglas Miraglia, president of MoneyPass. “The goal of this relationship is to respond to increased demand, from both financial institutions and their cardholders, for a viable, surcharge-free solution by offering an extensive net-work of MoneyPass and InterCept ATMs.”

“Offering surcharge-free transactions at ATMs operated by both networks gives financial institutions a powerful marketing tool,” said Tony Ficarra, executive vice president of FIS’ e-Business Services. “This agreement offers financial institutions of all sizes the ability to participate in a nationwide, surcharge-free network that is convenient to both existing and prospective cardholders.”

“Surcharge-free ATM networks are a selling point for financial institutions that want to expand business breadth and loyalty,” said Miraglia. “The growth and popularity of these networks also can be attributed to financial institutions’ desire for a more sustainable alternative to rebating surcharges incurred by their cardholders.”

Through this new agreement, financial institutions participating in either MoneyPass or InterCept will be able to offer their cardholders access to both ATM networks in September 2008, the firms said.

InterCept is a network of about 3,000 machines which are primarily in community banks.

Reaction from the industry has been appreciative but somewhat muted. Jim Park, CEO of Credit Union 24, welcomed the move from Moneypass, a firm which already has a relationship with the credit union owned network.

“Surcharge-free ATM access is a real competitive advantage for credit unions. I’m pleased to see MoneyPass working to broaden their footprint,” Park said. “Through our long-standing relationship with MoneyPass we

anticipate this agreement will have a beneficial impact on the availability of surcharge-free ATMs for Credit Union 24 participants. This will assist with the many other Credit

Union 24 tools available to our participants to attract and retain more members.”

Jim Hanisch, executive vice president for CO-OP Financial Services, said the move was only of marginal interest to CO-OP.

“We view this as an effort by FIS to strengthen its services to community banks more than as a move meant to address the credit union space,” Hanisch said.

–dmorrison@cutimes.com