COLUMBUS, Ga. - Total System Services Inc. is preparing to take a coveted international processing contract from archrival First Data Resources.

Total System said Wednesday it has signed a letter of intent with the Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC for processing of the banking company's 7 million consumer and commercial card accounts. The companies intend to sign a definitive agreement for a 10-year contract, according to Total System.

The contract - which would be Total System's first in Europe - would include processing for Royal Bank of Scotland and National Westminster Bank PLC, which Royal Bankthe former recently acquired. Sources said First Data processes for both portfolios.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group is the second largest credit card issuer in the United Kingdom, according to Total System. It represents between 20% and 25% of the country's market share, executives said.

"This is a watershed event for Total System," said Lynn Drury, group executive for international services. Total System was independently in negotiations with both banks and continued talks when the two merged. Last month, the processor announced that it hired a British data management company to help start a computer center in England. The center is slated to be running by yearend.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.