UBS news

Telekurs to buy VISA acquiring business from UBS Card Center Ltd

Media Releases Switzerland

Telekurs Group is to take over the VISA acquiring business from UBS Card Center Ltd (UCC) and in future, the Group's subsidiary Telekurs Multipay will offer agreements for point-of-sale acceptance not only of Mastercard products, but also of VISA cards. This dual-brand strategy, which has been under consideration for some time, aims to meet a growing need among customers and to ensure that Telekurs can remain competitive in the hard-fought credit-card market. UBS will for its part concentrate solely on credit-card issuing, an area in which it introduced its own dual-brand strategy as early as 1999.

Merging UCC's VISA acquiring business with the Mastercard® acquiring business of Telekurs Multipay will enable the latter to offer a very competitive and customer-friendly range of cards under one roof. The dual-brand concept is widely employed around the world, and there is growing demand for it in Switzerland, too. Since most points of sale accept both Mastercard and VISA as means of payment, merchants benefit from a reduction in the amount of paperwork and from improved conditions - depending on their overall sales volume - as a result of bundling sales recorded under the two brands.

Telekurs will buy the VISA acquiring business of UBS Card Center (UCC), with 46 employees and around 30,000 merchants. No details of the purchase price are to be made public. It is intended that the administrative and organizational merger of the two business units within Telekurs Multipay will be completed by mid-2004. While the credit-card market is currently growing overall, the possibility of job cuts in individual areas following the merger cannot be ruled out at this stage.

Telekurs Group:
Bernhard Wenger, Media Spokesman Tel. +41 1 279 22 20

UBS Group Media Relations Tel. +41 1 234 85 00


Issuing refers to the distribution of cards to customers to enable them to pay for goods and services without using cash. Cardholders undertake to pay a fee for using their card and to cover the payments they make with it. A contractual relationship exists between the card issuer and the cardholder.

Acquiring refers to the signing of agreements with businesses that accept credit cards, such as shops, hotels, restaurants and petrol stations (industry jargon refers to these collectively as "merchants"). A contractual relationship exists between the acquirer and the merchant, under which the merchant accepts the card in question as a means of payment, is reimbursed for the sale made using the card and in return pays the acquirer a commission.

Dual-brand strategy (i.e. one issuer/acquirer offering two credit-card brands)
A dual-brand strategy or offering means that the same company takes care of issuing or acquiring for two credit-card brands - e.g. VISA and Mastercard. Dual-brand issuing allows the issuer to offer customers (cardholders) a choice of both VISA and Mastercard cashless payment products. Dual-brand acquiring allows the acquirer to sign agreements with interested companies for the acceptance of, for example, both VISA and Mastercard.

Zurich / Basel, 28 May 2003