Payments processor First Data Corp.'s fourth-quarter 2010 revenue rose 6% from a year earlier to $2.73 billion, thanks to higher debit network fees and merchant-related services.

The Atlanta company, which last month announced it was consolidating management of its North American and international operations, said Wednesday it is seeing signs of improvement, particularly in demand for merchant processing services.

"We are encouraged by the solid growth in our U.S. merchant acquiring business driven by an improving economy and related consumer spending," Jonathan Judge, First Data's chief executive, said in a press release.

First Data, a unit of private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., performs processing for both retailers and banks and credit unions. The company is combining the management of those operations in both its domestic and international operations to improve its results, Judge said in January.

Revenue in its retail services segment rose 7% to $873 million in the quarter ending on Dec. 31, mainly due to more transactions and successful cross-selling of prepaid card products and point of sale equipment, the company said. Revenue from its financial services segment rose 1% to $358 million.

First Data shrunk its net loss, which was $129.9 million for the quarter, down 62% from a year earlier.