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First Data

As a payment processor to the world, First Data rode the wave of consumers gorging on credit and debit cards last year. Meanwhile, its Western Union unit glided along on the huge international money-wiring business, generating gargantuan profits. Western Union produced 34% of the company's revenues last year -- but nearly 50% of operating profits. With margins exceeding 30%, the money transfer business is proving a cash machine that helped the Greenwood, Colo.-based firm produce $2.3 billion in cash flow from operations last year.

Now, chief executive Charles T. Fote is pushing the firm deeper into that business and the emerging priority of fighting financial fraud, especially online. In May, First Data added Vigo Remittance, which specializes in the fast-growing Hispanic immigrant segment, to its pile of outlets sending money. To fight hackers and identity thieves, the company stiffened authentication of transactions and added new technology to its TeleCheck unit.

Company Info

Revenues* $10.2 BILLION
Revenue Growth 17.9%
Return on Equity 21.8%
Total Return-12.4%
Profits* $1.8 BILLION
All figures are for the most recent available 12 months.

* Latest available data for the 12-month period ended Dec. 31, Jan. 31, Feb. 29, Mar. 31, or Apr. 30. For companies that do not report quarterly, the most recent annual data were used.

Data provided by Standard & Poor's Compustat, BusinessWeek

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Company Snapshot

First Data Corp. provides electronic commerce and payment services solutions worldwide. The company operates in three segments: Payment Services, Merchant Services, and Card Issuing Services. The Payment Services segment offers consumer-to-consumer money transfer, consumer-to-business bill payment, official check and money order, prepaid services, transportation-related payment services, and other related product and services. The Merchant Services segment provides merchant and network acquiring, as well as transaction processing, automated teller machine processing, and check guarantee and verification services. The Card Issuing Services segment provides card processing services, such as account maintenance, transaction authorizing and posting, statement generation and printing, card embossing, fraud and risk management services, debit network issuing and processing services, and settlement services. In addition, it offers VisionPLUS card processing software to financial institutions, retailers, and third party processors. The company’s other services include electronic tax processing services for the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System and voice-center services to the telecommunications and financial services industries. Its voice-centers provide inbound telephone operator services, including customer support, directory assistance, and multilingual customer service. First Data Corp. was established in 1992 and is headquartered in Greenwood Village, Colo.

No. of Employees


Data provided by Capital IQ
Charles T. Fote

Charles T. Fote

AGE: 56


President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board

CEO Bio >

Total Compensation*


Total Value of Options**

$ 55.2 MILLION

Degrees Held


* Latest available fiscal year
** The sum of the net value of options exercised and held in the latest available fiscal year

Key Executives

Charles T. Fote, Guy A. Battista, Scott H. Betts, Michael D'Ambrose, Christina A. Gold, Kimberly S. Patmore, Pamela H. Patsley, James L. Schoedinger, Michael T. Whealy

Board Members

Charles T. Fote, Daniel P. Burnham, Alison Davis, Jack M. Greenberg, Courtney F. Jones, Richard P. Kiphart, James D. Robinson III, Charles T. Russell, Bernard L. Schwartz, Joan E. Spero, Arthur F. Weinbach

Data provided by Capital IQ
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