Europay International said it has closed its last geographical gap by signing major banks in Finland to issue Eurocard and other MasterCard-affiliated products.

Europay, a MasterCard International affiliate that serves as its European marketing agent, likened the Finnish commitment to the one it obtained from the Spanish banking community a year ago.

The European association said it expects to boost its 5% market share in Finland to 20% within two years. The newly signed member banks-Merita Bank, Postipankki, and OKO Pankki-control 80% of the country's banking market.

They intend to offer Eurocard-MasterCard credit cards first, later moving into debit and automated teller machine products. The three Finnish banks are responsible for 90% of the more than 2,000 ATMs in the national network.

Europay said it hopes to bring its Finnish market penetration into line with what it has achieved elsewhere. The association claims an 82% share of debit cards in Europe and 59% of all cards.

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