First Data Corp. of Atlanta signed a three-year contract with the Egyptian government to manage a prepaid benefits smart card.

The program initially will target monthly grocery purchases for 4.5 million families, but eventually will expand to support other government benefits like health, transportation and gas.

First Data will issue and process the multifunction, reloadable prepaid smart cards for the Ministry of State Development's subsidized family food program and Social Solidarity pensions.

The ministry, in Cairo, is charged with modernizing Egypt's government.

First Data will distribute the cards over seven months. The contract is the company's first in Egypt.

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