July 26, 2012

Bank of America Merrill Lynch announced today that it is expanding its card services to seven new countries: Argentina, Poland, the Czech Republic, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden. By the end of 2012 the bank will provide card offerings in more than 70 countries, according to a statement. The bank also announced its launch of SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) Direct Debits in anticipation of 2014 when all local payment instruments in European countries will be replaced by a unified payments program. These moves, the bank said, will benefit its corporate clients who are looking to expand overseas.

"As more companies seek growth internationally, they are realizing the inherent advantages - such as transparency and risk controls - that card programs bring to managing cross-border payments," said Kevin Phalen, the bank's head of Global Card and Comprehensive Payables, in the statement.

The SEPA Direct Debits technology will give clients cost savings and simplification as the multiple payments instruments across the Eurozone are unified, the bank said.

"We took the step of investing in this [SEPA Direct Debits] technology as early as possible so that we could help our clients get a head start in the SEPA conversion process. The early adoption will help them avoid future disruptions and more quickly realize the benefits of SEPA," Duncan Kennett, the bank's director of EMEA Commercial Card.

[See Related: Bank of America Switches to EMV Chip Credit Cards for Consumers ]

Jonathan Camhi is a graduate of the City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism, where he focused on international reporting and interned at the Hindustan Times in Delhi, ...