NCR has called its state-of-the-art headquarters an "urban living room" at street level, welcoming pedestrians. Rendering provided by NCR.

First Data Corp. and NCR Corp., two Atlanta giants that help companies, consumers and banks create smoother financial transactions, are joining forces at pivotal times for both companies.  

First Data focuses on processing and securing electronic payments, while NCR is heavy into ATMs and cash registers. They’ll bring their respective strengths to the table in a strategic alignment executives say will benefit both companies as they take different paths to firmer financial footing. 

First Data raised $2.56 billion on Oct. 1, short of its initial $3.2 billion target, revealing the softness of the IPO market in the eyes of some analysts. In February the company posted its first quarterly profit in seven years but has lost money in each of the three quarters so far in 2015. Executives point to the fact that quarterly losses have been cut substantially over the prior year quarter as evidence they’re on the right path, but the company must persuade shareholders it can manage the $20.8 billion it holds in long-term debt

NCR in November took in $820 million from Blackstone Group after flirting with a private buyout from a group of investors led by the private-equity giant earlier this year. Duluth, Ga.-based NCR, which plans to move into a new $260 million Midtown headquarters in early 2018, is using the infusion to repurchase up to $1 billion of its own stock. The company’s ongoing strategy focuses on driving software sales, which bring higher margins than its traditional hardware businesses.

That’s the backdrop for the recently signed NCR-First Data partnership, which focuses on cross-selling their complementary products and services. NCR will be a preferred ATM provider for the First Data’s 4,000 bank customers, while First Data will process payments on NCR point-of-sale machines used at restaurants, gas stations and grocery stores. Crucially for both, they’ll also combine and jointly market their respective software solutions for securing payment transactions. 

According to Bloomberg, First Data has 23 percent of the global market for payment processing. NCR is the world’s largest manufacturer of ATMs, with $1.134 trillion in cash moving through its machines every year. 

Read more about the agreement here

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...