The U.S. may be facing a migration to EMV chip cards over the next few years, but few issuers or merchants have yet to reach out for assistance, the chairman and CEO of Total System Services Inc., or TSYS, told analysts April 24.

“We've got a couple of banks that have come to us. I'd say a couple–four that have come to us and want to get in the EMV” process, Phil Tomlinson said during a call to discuss the company’s first-quarter earnings. “But it is not like they're knocking down the doors yet. I think a lot of people have sort of a wait-and-see attitude, but we absolutely believe it will happen,” he said.

Tomlinson said he expects the conversion eventually will have a positive effect on TSYS’s earnings.

“Obviously it requires a lot of work on both sides of the transaction, and we will perform a lot of that work and hopefully we will get paid for it,” he said. “We've been through that in the [United Kingdom] in Europe, we've been through it in Canada. And now we're looking at it obviously in the U.S.”

Driven by an improving economy, the Columbus, Ga.-based processor reported a 7.4% jump in revenue, to $461.2 million for the quarter ended March 31 from $429.4 million during the same period last year. Net income jumped 16.6%, to $57.6 million from $49.4 million.

“At the enterprise level, we saw healthy increases in transactions both on the issuer-processing side as well as increases on the acquiring side in the processing and the direct acquiring,” Tomlinson said.

Same-client issuer transactions for North America and International combined were up 14.4%. Excluding deconverted accounts, same-client point-of-sale transactions in TSYS’s Indirect Acquiring business were up 11%, and sales volume for the company’s Direct Acquiring business was up 20.9%, Tomlinson said.

“From a macro level, we see continued healthy declines in both credit card delinquencies and charge-offs quarter-over-quarter,” he said. “Charge volumes on credit cards have trended upward over the past three quarters, which again indicate improved consumer confidence, and we see a renewed interest among our issuers, in particular, in offering new credit cards and new products.”

Revenue from North American business increased 4.9%, to $204 million from $194.5 million, while international services revenue rose 10.6%, to $100.3 million from $90.7. Merchant services experienced an 8.5% revenue increase, to $125.5 million from $115.7 million.

Just before releasing its earnings report, TSYS announced it had landed a new contract to process the credit card portfolios of Columbus, Ohio-based Huntington Bancshares Inc., which has more than 660 local branches throughout a six-state region.

In addition, the company reported a renewal of a key long-term processing contract with Royal Bank of Scotland on April 23 (see story).

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