First Data Corp. today reported a $195.9 million loss for the second quarter ended June 30, a nearly $40 million increase from the $160.6 million loss the transaction processor reported for the same period last year. Revenue totaled $2.2 billion, about the same amount the company reported a year ago. First Data says the strengthening U.S. dollar and an after-tax expense of $284 million contributed to the quarter's loss. By segment, the Retail and Alliance Services division, which includes credit, debit, check, stored-value and loyalty card processing services, reported the strongest performance, with revenue of $1.28 billion, a 7.6% increase from $1.19 billion a year ago. Michael Capellas, First Data CEO and chairman, told analysts during a conference call today that U.S. same-store transaction growth held steady at 6% compared with last year's second quarter. But consumers remained thrifty. "Average tickets were down 13% for our acquired transactions," Capellas said. "Large, national chains continue to gain share versus small and medium-sized merchants." First Data processed 6.17 billion U.S. transactions during the quarter, down 12.1% from 7.02 billion a year ago. First Data had 649.5 million U.S. card accounts on file as of June 30, a 0.14% increase from the 648.6 million a year earlier, the company noted in a filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission. First Data's International division, which handles business outside the United States, generated $404.4 million in second-quarter revenue, down 13.5% from $467.3 million. The unit processed 1.72 billion transactions during the quarter, up 7.5% from 1.6 billion a year ago. David Yates, First Data International president, told analysts the volume growth should continue into the third quarter. "There is no reason to assume it would be any less," Yates said. First Data's Financial Services division, which processes transactions for card issuers, earned $532.2 million in revenue during the quarter, down 4.4% from $556.6 million.

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