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US Bank plans to buy prepaid card processor

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- U.S. Bank said Tuesday that it is buying a Florida company to help it expand its reach in prepaid cards.

FSV Payment Systems manages prepaid programs for companies, governments and other financial institutions. U.S. Bank praised FSV's processing platform and "exceptional team of prepaid executives."

U.S. Bank, the lead bank of U.S. Bancorp, expects to complete the deal in December but still needs regulatory approval. It declined to say how much it paid for FSV. The prepaid company will operate under U.S. Bank's Elan Financial Services brand.

U.S. Bank, based in Minneapolis, has been growing its prepaid card business. "The prepaid market has been a strategic focus for our business over the last decade and we are pleased to expand our capabilities and offer a fuller suite of prepaid services," Tony Vuoto, executive vice president of the bank's retail payment solutions, said in a statement.

Prepaid cards have been criticized by student and consumer groups, who say some users unwittingly get hit with high hidden or confusing fees.

U.S. Bancorp shares fell 22 cents to $32.16 in afternoon trading.