Euronet Worldwide, Inc. (NASDAQ: EEFT), through its wholly owned subsidiary - Euronet Payments & Card Services Ltd. (EPCS), has been authorized by the Financial Service Authority (FSA) in the United Kingdom (UK) to provide payment services. This authorization covers a broad range of services, including ATM and POS transaction acquiring. This authorization allows Euronet to apply for direct membership with the major card schemes. Upon receipt of this authorization, Euronet applied for and received membership with the two major card schemes, Visa and MasterCard, for ATM transaction acquiring. The combination of the authorization by the FSA and membership with the major card schemes allows Euronet to directly process ATM debit and credit card transactions throughout most of Europe, without the requirement of a sponsor bank. Subject to business opportunities, Euronet intends to apply for direct membership with the major card schemes for POS merchant acquiring. EPCS is authorized to issue e-money products and provide payment services in the European Economic Area, which includes European Union member countries plus Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway. With the target to make cross-border payments easy, efficient and secure, the European payment services regulations seek to improve competition by opening payment markets to new entrants, thus fostering greater efficiency and cost-reduction. This authorization to provide payment services will allow Euronet to provide acquiring services in 29 European countries, including Austria; Belgium; Bulgaria; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Iceland; Ireland; Italy; Latvia; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Malta; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Slovak Republic; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; UK. Since gaining membership with the major card schemes, Euronet has initiated certification projects in five European countries, which will make Euronet one of the few non-financial institutions with the ability to directly acquire transactions on independently deployed ATMs. In the future, EPCS will extend the membership with the major card schemes to other European Union countries and build direct connections with other large card schemes.
“The significance of this development is monumental as it reflects a paradigm shift in our business. Previously, anytime we deployed ATMs in new markets we had to engage in lengthy negotiations to secure a sponsor bank. Now, with an acquiring license and direct card scheme membership, an acquiring sponsor bank is no longer required, allowing Euronet to directly acquire transactions on our independently deployed ATM networks and settle directly with the card schemes,” stated Nikos Fountas, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Euronet’s Europe EFT Division. “Moreover, this license enables us to expedite time-to-market entry, increases our flexibility in product development and creates the opportunity to expand cross-selling synergies between our different segments,” added Mr. Fountas.Under the newly granted license, Euronet, a leading European payment processing and services provider and the largest Independent ATM Deployer (IAD) in Central and Eastern Europe, is able to expand its presence through the offering of ATM and POS merchant acquiring throughout Europe. This will allow Euronet to operate in new and existing European markets without further constraints from additional licensing or sponsor bank requirements. About Euronet Worldwide, Inc. Euronet Worldwide is an industry leader in processing secure electronic financial transactions. The Company offers payment and transaction processing solutions to financial institutions, retailers, service providers and individual consumers. These services include comprehensive ATM (Automated Teller Machines), POS (Point of Sale) and card outsourcing services, card issuing and merchant acquiring services, software solutions, consumer money transfer and bill payment services, and electronic distribution for prepaid mobile phone time and other prepaid products. Euronet's global payment network is extensive - including 12,668 ATMs, approximately 53,000 EFT POS terminals and a growing portfolio of outsourced debit and credit card services which are under management in 32 countries; card software solutions; a prepaid processing network of approximately 591,000 POS terminals at approximately 282,000 retailer locations in 29 countries; and a consumer-to-consumer money transfer network of approximately 140,000 locations serving 136 countries. With corporate headquarters in Leawood, Kansas, USA, and 47 worldwide offices, Euronet serves clients in approximately 150 countries. For more information, please visit the Company's website at www.euronetworldwide.com.