Payment services companies Voca and LINK Interchange Network have announced an intention to merge, creating VocaLINK. The combined company will have a forecast volume of over 8 billion transactions this year. The two companies are already working together to build the infrastructure behind the UK’s Faster Payments initiative that will deliver real-time payments to the UK market by the end of the year. The companies hope that when the merger is formally completed, subject to OFT approval, it will create a competitive pan-European payment processor ready for when the single euro payments area (SEPA) becomes a reality in 2008. The first services from the new company will include SEPA-ready and real-time payment services designed to accelerate domestic and cross-border payments. The group also plans to use its combined network of partners across the telecommunications, financial, retail and public sectors to offer enhanced online and mobile services. Current Voca chief executive Marion King will be the merged company’s CEO charged with running the business. Under the terms of the proposed agreement, VocaLINK will be managed through a new board including independent non-executives. Peter Presland, LINK’s current chairman, will assume the role of non-executive chairman.
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