Consumers may not be familiar with First Data, but anyone who uses credit and debit cards has most likely used its services. As a leading processor of credit and debit transactions, First Data moves hundreds of thousands of dollars between customers and merchants every week. Last year alone, the Denver-based firm completed 25 billion transactions. First Data grew out of its Western Union
brand to become the first company to process Visa and MasterCard payments in 1976. Since then, First Data has added businesses like its recent acquisition of the STAR Network, healthcare payments processing, and simplifying the transactional process of coupons for grocery stores. Organic growth is expected as well: By 2010, about 65 percent of all payments will be made electronically, versus a little more than 30 percent now. Charge on, customers.
— BETH SNYDER BULIK
Short And Sweet
According to Sun Microsystems, 79 percent of web readers only scan the page rather than reading word for word. People also read 25 percent slower from a computer screen than from paper.
— B. S. B.