Discover Financial Services, which bought the Diners Club International network in July 2008, has signed an agreement to expand the network's European acceptance.

The long-term, multicountry merchant acquiring agreement is with the payment services provider Six Multipay, a unit of Six Group Ltd. of Zurich, the companies said Monday. The exact length and financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Six Multipay, which offers bundled acquiring services to merchants, will add Diners Club and Discover cards to those bundles by yearend. The companies said the agreement will apply to merchants in "key European regions including Switzerland, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Ireland, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg."

The agreement is in keeping with the merchant acquiring strategy that Discover has pursued since 2006 to close the merchant acceptance gap in the United States. The Riverwoods, Ill., card company says it shares 99% of the potential acceptance points of both Visa and MasterCard in the United States, up from 77% in 2005.

Rajive Chadha, the president of Diners Club International at Discover Financial Services, said in a press release that strengthening acceptance has been one of Discover's "key priorities" since it bought Diners Club.

The Six Multipay deal "is an important step in helping reach that goal as we make progress on this initiative," he said.

A Discover spokeswoman said the company also expects the agreement to "increase acceptance in Switzerland and Germany, where Six Multipay is a market leader. As Six Multipay continues to grow in other European markets, we believe Diners Club/Discover acceptance will grow as well."

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