Discover Financial Services and Network International, a Middle Eastern payment provider, have formed a strategic alliance to allow cross border card acceptance.

Network International operates the local Mercury card network in the United Arab Emirates and other Middle Eastern nations. The company's deal with Discover will allow acceptance of Mercury Network Cards on Discover, Diners Club International and Pulse networks for international purchases and cash access outside of U.A.E.

"By partnering with regional payment networks such as Network International, Discover is able to leverage its assets to grow volume and increase brand awareness in places like the U.A.E., one of the fastest growing economies in the world," said Diane Offereins, Discover's executive vice president and president of Payment Services, in a on May 6 press release.

Discover has been expanding via international partnerships, reaching markets such as India in the process. Discover has also partnered with PayPal to expand acceptance of PayPal's digital wallet.

The Network International/Discover partnership will eventually provide acceptance in more than 185 countries and territories, and may include other products and services, the companies said in a press release. Discover and Network International also plan to collaborate on the integration of Discover D-PAS EMV technology and fraud monitoring systems.

"The new agreement with Discover Financial Services provides our issuing members with new options for ATM and [point of sale] access around the globe, while Mercury is customizing our card network programs specifically to the needs of our financial institution partners and their customers," said Bhairav Trivedi, CEO of Network International, in a release. 

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