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First Data Launches Person-to-Person Payment Service

Electronic commerce payment services company First Data Corp. said it plans to launch an Internet person-to-person (P2P) payment service, Western Union MoneyZap, in July.

The service would leverage the P2P payment brand of First Data 's electronic money transfer subsidiary Western Union and will enable consumers to select how, when and where to securely and easily send, receive and request payments from other consumers over the Internet and ultimately through wireless devices.

Several other companies already have launched into this P2P space, which is becoming increasingly crowded. eCommony Inc., for instance, has launched its patent-pending PayToCard Network.

The Western Union MoneyZap product will enable consumers to send money or request money from anyone with an email address. Via encrypted transactions, funds will be verified by Western Union and transferred electronically to the payment vehicle of choice, as dictated by the sender.

MoneyZap initially will be targeted at Internet-savvy consumers and will serve to help broaden the Western Union franchise. Moreover, this product will complement existing Western Union money transfer products and core competencies and will form the basis of Western Union's clicks-and-mortar strategy.

"Western Union has been moving money electronically for more than 125 years and has the established world-class infrastructure, reliability, trust and proven track record required to move money in the online world," said Ric Duques, chairman and chief executive officer of First Data.

First Data has moved into the business-to-consumer space over the last two years and offers a suite of e-commerce tools to help merchants move their businesses to the Web.

In the B2B arena, First Data last week announced a joint venture with Entrust Technologies, called PaymentWave, to focus on delivering a payment platform and related products for B2B exchanges to facilitate safe, secure, authenticated payments for businesses buying and selling through e-markets.

Meanwhile, First Data signed a deal with Excite@Home making First Data the preferred provider of Internet payment solutions for several of Excite@Home's consumer services.

Excite@Home will promote First Data's person-to-person (P2P) Internet payment service to consumers and will leverage First Data's expertise to power transaction processing within existing and emerging Excite@Home consumer services. Financial arrangements were not disclosed.



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