ATLANTA - First Data Corp. announced that it will begin processing cards next month for Home Trust Co., the principal subsidiary of $738 million-asset Home Capital Group Inc. of Toronto.

Home Trust, which already offers subprime mortgages to consumers, plans to issue secured Visa cards to Canadians whose questionable credit histories have precluded them from obtaining credit cards in the past.

President and chief executive officer Gerald M. Soloway said the deal with First Data underscores Home Trust's efforts to provide cards to "a large and unserved market." The company estimates that more than four million adults in Canada lack credit cards.

The five-year agreement will secure First Data's growing presence in the Canadian market, said chairman and CEO Ric Duques. First Data currently offers merchant processing, money transfer, and other payment services to Canadian customers through its subsidiaries TeleCheck Services Inc., Western Union, and First Data Loan Company Canada.

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