The Wall Street Journal reported in May, 2019, that Bank of America was considering dissolving the decade-long joint venture with authorization network service provider, First Data.  Their change was the result of dissatisfaction with First Data's customer service and technical abilities.

Since 2013, Curbstone, the market leader for card processing technology for the IBM Power Systems running the IBM i operating system, had supported First Data.  Having experienced the same customer service and technical issues, Curbstone had notified its clients ONE MONTH EARLIER, in April, 2019 that it would be dropping support for the First Data authorization network platform.  In the course of the following year, all of Curbstone's clients will be migrated to other platforms, with the majority moving to TSYS authorization network.  Curbstone’s merchants are being provided sufficient time and consideration to transition to a new network.

Read more about First Data, now FISERV, and Bank fo America...

“After Curbstone announced their decision to discontinue support for First Data’s network in April 2019, we were not surprised that Bank of America Merchant Services, the third-largest US acquirer, is echoing our concerns for First Data’s poor cooperation and performance,” said Curbstone Operations Manager, Ryan Nichols.  He continued, “Since 2013, when we first certified with First Data, their merchant onboarding process has also been needlessly complex and excruciatingly long, compared to the other Tier 1 networks with whom we certify.”

Curbstone - Bank of America

No official announcement was made by Bank of America, but persons familiar with the situation were quoted by the WSJ as saying there had been issues within First Data’s technology platform, going back for many years. 

These were mostly to do with delays encountered by Bank of America's merchant clients in receiving monies due to them along with outages they experienced, which prevented them from accepting card payments from their customers.

Here are some of the notifications we get of service interruptions, and these are for just one day:

fiserv disruptions

Mr. Nichols said Curbstone had encountered ongoing problems with First Data’s platform and services for many years, which led to the reconsideration for supporting its platform. 

So far, there has been no confirmation of the dissolution of the BAMS joint-venture in spite of the fact that such a move would apparently have to be announced a full year before the renewal date in June 2020.

“Alternatively”, said Mr. Nichols, “Bank of America could actually be planning to strike out on its own and proceed to build its own authorization network, giving them the ability to offer a complete, in-house, merchant services solution.”

Curbstone’s secure technology processes about $2.4 Billion per year for merchants on the IBM i (AS/400, iSeries) platform, for phone orders, e-commerce, and retail.