Electronic transaction processing specialist Global Payments has announced a new partnership that will find the firm referring select US and international customers to bitcoin payment solutions provider BitPay.
, which saw revenue of $2.4bn in 2013, boasts more than 1 million merchants globally. These customers are distributed throughout the US, Spain, Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, Canada, the UK and 11 Asia-Pacific countries.
Amy Corn, senior vice president of marketing and communications at Global Payments, told CoinDesk that the move is one that will allow the company to supply its customers with innovative solutions, while better serving emerging markets.
Corn further elaborated on Global Payments' position on bitcoin, but declined to state whether this was part of a larger company push to integrate bitcoin more completely in its services, telling CoinDesk:
Notably, the company will not offer a specific in-house e-commerce tool to its merchants, as it does for businesses that who want to accept card-based payments. Rather, should Global Payments customers inquire about bitcoin services, they will be referred to BitPay to seek more information.
Corn did not comment specifically on how long Global Payments has been monitoring the bitcoin market, but rather framed the referral program as part of the company's commitment to the larger payments ecosystem.
"We work very hard to ensure that we stay on top of market developments and changes, and we work hard to continue to evaluate our value proposition," she said.
However, Corn suggested one of the core reasons behind the referral program would be to strengthen Global Payments' position in developing countries, adding:
executive chairman Tony Gallippi characterized the partnership as one that would help extend his company's reach to more global customers and more markets.
"The cross-border demands of global merchants present a great opportunity for bitcoin acceptance and will allow us to reach more customers in emerging markets," he added.
Although Global Payments is a more traditional electronic payments provider, the company has recently indicated it is seeking to embrace innovation, and that this goal would be a key part of its fiscal year 2014 strategy.
For example, in its 2013 annual report, Global Payments CEO Paul Garcia hinted that the company may be seeking new and novel ways to expand its core merchant services.
"In this ever-changing payments environment, we continue to innovate and provide our merchants with new and enhanced services that will fuel future growth," Garcia said. "These improvements will ensure that your company remains forward looking, globally informed and customer driven."
In the full report, the company also mentioned a desire to focus on user privacy, another area in which bitcoin could be beneficial.
Disclaimer: CoinDesk founder Shakil Khan is an investor in BitPay.
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