EDS Launches World-First Payment Card Utility

    Australian Launch Represents First Step in Global Roll Out of Regional

    SYDNEY, Sept. 24 /CNW/ -- EDS, a leading global technology services
provider, today announced the launch of a world-first payment card utility in
Australia to make it easier for financial institutions to modernise and manage
card services in an increasingly competitive market. The Regional Cards
Utility gives banks and other credit providers access to the latest technology
and business systems under an innovative shared service model.
    EDS Australia managing director Chris Mitchell said EDS has made a
significant investment on developing an Agile Card Framework, the software
infrastructure that drives the new service.
    "The regulation of interchange fees by the Reserve Bank has opened up the
payment card market and placed pressure on financial institutions to remain
competitive," Mr. Mitchell said. "Our utility provides card processing for
multiple institutions, driving down costs by up to 50 per cent and allowing
them to deliver new customer services that are quite separate and unique.
We're offering payment & card providers the latest technology, vastly improved
economies of scale and rapid time to market for new products."
    The Regional Cards Utility currently processes in excess of 70 million
transactions per month across both issued and acquired transactions. The
infrastructure developed by EDS has an initial capacity to process 10-15
million card accounts.
    Dee McGrath, the former general manager of consumer and commercial cards
at National Australia Bank, has been appointed by EDS as director of the new
utility for both Australia and New Zealand.
    She said EDS was offering a card-processing environment that uses the
latest technological and operational approaches, something that few companies
could achieve in isolation without huge up-front fixed costs.
    "Products such as pre-paid, scheme debit and chip cards are driving
unprecedented growth in micro and online payments, an area in which large
banks are struggling to maintain a competitive edge," she said. "Banks need
modern IT platforms that can accommodate higher volumes and an ability to
introduce new products. Future success will hinge on operational efficiencies,
but many of the IT systems banks use for processing payment cards have
remained unchanged for 20 years."
    As a result the industry is under increasing pressure from overseas
entrants who can offer customers a more flexible and innovative service. There
is also a shift in the balance of power at the merchant end of the market,
with demands for greater choice, tailored services and differentiated pricing.
    "Merchants now have the ability to choose from new entrants with deep
pockets and new technologies which is typically delivered at a lower price,"
Ms. McGrath said. "The changing payment card environment will make it
increasingly attractive for banks to outsource the management and processing
of their card products and merchant transactions."
    The technology and business service model introduced by EDS allows
financial institutions to transform payment card services and re-engineer back
office processes without the normal associated risks.
    "It's a seamless environment for customers, with banks able to promote
and protect their own brand and unique services," said Vinnie Calo, director,
global card services at EDS. "Our experience, both regionally and globally,
will continue to deepen as we roll out the EDS Regional Cards Utility to other
    EDS currently provides card-related services in more than 18 countries
across the world, and in the Asia Pacific region it processes more than 20
million credit card accounts and 1.3 billion credit card transactions a year.
Some 25,000 EDS employees work on finance-related projects for about 200
customers in 30 countries for clients such as ABN Amro, Aon, Bank of Canada,
Bank of Queensland, la Caixa, CIBC, Commonwealth Bank Group, KBC, Korea First
Bank, Lloyds TSB, Royal Bank of Scotland, Societe Generale, Visa and Westpac.
    About EDS
    EDS (NYSE:   EDS) is a leading global technology services company
delivering business solutions to its clients. EDS founded the information
technology outsourcing industry 45 years ago. Today, EDS delivers a broad
portfolio of information technology and business process outsourcing services
to clients in the manufacturing, financial services, healthcare,
communications, energy, transportation, and consumer and retail industries and
to governments around the world. Learn more at eds.com.
    The statements in this news release that are not historical statements,
including statements regarding the amount of new contract values, are
forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws.
These statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, many of
which are beyond EDS' control, which could cause actual results to differ
materially from such statements. For information concerning these risks and
uncertainties, see EDS' most recent Form 10-K. EDS disclaims any intention or
obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a
result of new information, future events or otherwise.

    Annabelle Baxter -- EDS
    +1 972 605 0978

For further information:

For further information: Annabelle Baxter of Electronic Data Systems 
Corporation, +1-972-605-0978, annabelle.baxter@eds.com Web Site:

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