Deputy First Minister Nicol Stephen MSP today welcomed plans by e-commerce and payment service provider, First Data International, to open its first facility in Glasgow.

The new First Data contact centre is expected to create more than 430 jobs in the city’s international financial services district over the next five years.

Deputy First Minister Nicol said the decision came after strong competition and after the Scottish Executive sweetened the deal with a £2.3m grant. “The decision by First Data to locate in Scotland is very much welcomed. I am delighted that the Scottish Executive has been able to support this exciting project with a £2.3 million Regional Selective Assistance grant.”

The financial services sector is regarded as one of Scotland’s key sectors, generating £5 billion, or nearly 6%, of the Scottish GDP and is one of the fastest growing sectors of the Scottish economy, having grown by 36.5% over the past five years – almost four times faster than the overall Scottish economy and twice as fast as the whole of the UK financial services industry.

Peter Ryan, contact centre and outsourcing analyst for research firm Datamonitor told CIO First data’s move to Glasgow could viewed as part of a wider trend towards demand for more intuitive language skills for English speaking regions and regional variation in cost, but that its recent popularity may work against it.

“Over the past five years companies have moved away from cutting cost in call centres to providing better quality customer service. Glasgow is seen as good prospect because of the high availability of workers due to high unemployment. But I would say it is running the risk of a high cost of inflation if a glut of workers saturates the market.”

First Data International serves card issuers in nearly 70 countries across six continents with a portfolio of payment services including electronic processing, ATM and point of sale management, switching and authorisation, fraud and risk management, customer management, contact centre services, card personalisation and print services.