Discover Financial Services' partnership with the Belgian processor Trionis added to a string of deals this year that have raised Discover's international profile.
The partnership with Trionis, which was announced last week, will enable Discover and Diners Club cardholders to use at least 74,000 automated teller machines in Europe.
Discover struck similar deals last month in Canada and India.
Analysts said Discover has become more of an international name.
"The goal Discover has been aiming for is to create a true global acceptance footprint and with these recent agreements, Discover's various card brands gain a lot more utility and value to cardholders," said David Lott, a senior vice president with the Atlanta payment consulting firm Speer & Associates Inc.
Discover, which bought Diners Club International from Citigroup Inc. for $165 million last year, also said it is using its Pulse debit network to boost acceptance for both its card brands.
Trionis provides switching and processing services to banks and networks in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. It is owned by banks from nine European countries, the U.S. processor First Data Corp. (a unit of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.) and the European Savings Banks Group.
Pulse, of Houston, signed a similar deal last month with Interac, Canada's only debit network, enabling Discover, Diners Club and Pulse cardholders to withdraw cash from a portion of Canada's 57,864 ATMs beginning this month. The agreement will initially enable Diners Club cardholders to withdraw money from about 14%, of Canada's ATMs.
The Interac deal does not include point of sale access in Canada. And it does not permit Interac debit cardholders to use the 289,000 ATMs in the United States that route transactions across the Pulse network, and more than 600,000 machines worldwide,
Earlier in August, Venture Infotek Global Pvt. Ltd., an Indian processor, signed a long-term merchant-acquiring deal to handle Diners Club and Discover transactions. The deal will permit Discover and Diners Club cardholders to use their cards at Venture Infotek's merchant clients, though Discover did not say when.
And in March, Multipay AG, a Swiss processor, agreed to handle Diners Club and Discover credit card transactions.
David R. Schneider, Pulse's president, said these agreements aim to extend the global ATM reach of Diners Club cards. They build on card-acceptance agreements Discover forged in Asia.
Discover cards are accepted in China as part of a reciprocal agreement signed in 2005 with China UnionPay, the country's only bank-card network. Pulse agreed to handle transactions for UnionPay cards in the United States, and Discover cardholders can use their cards at UnionPay's 365,000 merchant locations and 80,000 ATMs in China.
In 2006, Morgan Stanley, Discover's then-owner, signed a reciprocal acceptance agreement with JCB Co., Japan's largest issuer.
A Discover spokeswoman said the goal of the Trionis deal is "to continue to expand global cash access and acceptance" of Discover's card brands. But she would not say whether the company is laying the groundwork for wider acceptance abroad of Discover, Diners Club and Pulse-branded debit cards.
Discover, of Riverwoods, Ill., still has a long way to go before it can match Visa Inc. or MasterCard Inc. in global card acceptance, Lott said. "Nine European countries is respectable, but it doesn't compare with Visa or MasterCard."
He said Discover may gain further international yardage by similar deals with other regional payments networks. "The benefits for Discover in expanding acceptance for its cards at the point of sale and at ATMs around the world are obvious — it's a big selling point for the card," Lott said. "For regional payment networks like those it's signed recently, it's additional incremental revenue."