ATLANTA, Ga. (10/18/10)--First Data Corp., an electronic commerce and payment processor with credit unions among its clients, has signed an agreement with MeridianLink Inc. to add XpressAccounts, an automated new member application and account opening program to its Internet banking service. Meridian was chosen because of its flexibility, said First Data. There is an increasing consumer demand for this capability, the Javelin Strategy and Research firm reports. The No. 1 benefit, a Javelin study found, is that online account opening can significantly reduce the cost of opening and servicing accounts. Javelin estimates that processing an application manually costs banks and credit unions an average of about $60. That's higher than the cost estimates from online account opening vendors, showing a mid-range of $15. MeridianLink Inc. is a provider of enterprise business solutions for end users in the financial services industries.