ATLANTA — First Data Corp. and some Japanese partners have set up a new company, Nihon Card Processing Co., which they say is the first firm in Japan to provide third-party credit card processing.

First Data, the largest credit card processor in the United States, said Japan is the second-largest credit card market. Its partners in the processing venture are NTT Data, the data processing subsidiary of the telecommunications company NTT Corp.; DC Card, the fourth-largest bank card issuer and merchant acquirer in Japan and an affiliate of the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi; and Diamond Computer Service Co., an information systems provider with expertise in credit card and finance operations.

Nihon Card Processing’s first customer is DC Card, which has issued eight million Visa and MasterCard cards. DC Card provided the processing infrastructure for the joint venture, and First Data is applying its U.S. credit card processing expertise.

The partner companies say Nihon Card Processing will be a low-cost alternative for Japanese bank card issuers, and will offer them “the flexible functionality that today allows U.S. issuers to customize credit card offerings according to customer need.”

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