First Data Corp. says it was ready when the euro was born Jan. 1.

Its European subsidiary, First Data Resources Ltd., known as FDRL, had converted its systems to accept the new currency.

FDRL serves more than 40 card issuers and is Europe's largest third- party processor.

"We invested heavily over the past two years preparing our systems to recognize the new currency and industry-specified processing for dual pricing," said Joe Jackson, managing director of FDR Europe. "As a result, we have the ability to issue, on behalf of our clients, euro-denominated card accounts throughout Europe."

Europay International, MasterCard's European affiliate and marketing agent, similarly declared its readiness at the euro's birth. The company's euro program director, Dominique Buchut, made a euro-denominated purchase of an airplane ticket in Brussels on a Eurocard-MasterCard issued by Credit Mutuel of Paris.

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