Visa International plans to create a new for-profit credit and debit card processing company April 3, one that could ultimately compete directly with First Data Corp., Electronic Data Systems Corp., and other outsourcing companies that banks hire to handle their consumer card accounts.

Malcolm Williamson, president and chief executive officer of Visa International, said the new company - which has yet to be given a formal name but is known temporarily as the shared services organization - will be a direct subsidiary of Visa International that could one day be spun off as a public company, if Visa's board of directors decided that was wise.

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