Visa Acquires Plaid for $5.3 Billion; Pledges to Build a Secured Digital Fintech Ecosystem Globally
The global leader in digital payments – Visa Inc. has announced a multi-billion dollar deal to acquire Plaid. Plaid is an SF-based DevOps experience company built specifically for Financial Services. Visa purchased Plaid for $5.3 billion to acquire the entire network of financial architecture and DevOps that stayed committed to securely connect consumers’ financial accounts to the apps they use to manage their financial lives.
Once closed, the combination of Visa and Plaid is expected to provide significant benefits to developers, financial institutions and consumers. Visa will continue to upgrade its service line with new tools and technologies, expanding to new markets, including in Africa.
Omnichannel and Contactless Payments Experience is Now a Reality
Tap to pay is moving out of experiment labs into our daily lives. Visa thinks “contactless payment” is the future of transactions. In its “Contactless payments: Global highlights” report, Visa predicted that over 100 million US consumers will tap contactless cards to complete their transactions.
78 of the top 100 Visa merchants by transactions in the U.S. already offer the ability to tap to pay at checkout.
The Visa-plaid deal will push forward the adoption of digital payments and enhance experiences with contactless journeys in the retail sector.
At the time of this Visa-Plaid announcement, Zach Perret, Co-founder and CEO at Plaid stated the journey his company completed since inception, becoming an incredible network today that enables millions of consumers to interact with over 2,500 digital finance products.
Zach wrote, “Consumers now rely on Fintech services in so many ways: to pay their bills, to send money to friends, to grow their savings, to manage their student loans, and to create budgets they rely on to reach their goals.”
“Joining forces with Visa, a brand that is trusted by billions of consumers, and financial institutions in over 200 countries and territories represents an incredible opportunity to continue to scale our products. We’ll be able to lean on their brand, resources, and international footprint to benefit our customers, our partners, and the markets we serve,” added Zach.
Al Kelly, CEO, and Chairman of Visa stated –
“We are extremely excited about our acquisition of Plaid and how it enhances the growth trajectory of our business. Plaid is a leader in the fast growing fintech world with best-in-class capabilities and talent. The acquisition, combined with our many fintech efforts already underway, will position Visa to deliver even more value for developers, financial institutions and consumers.”
What Made Visa Acquire Plaid?
In this age of fast connectivity and real-time interactions, Plaid is the “magic bullet” that Visa had to earn to compete in the disruptive Fintech ecosystem.
Visa’s acquisition of Plaid represents both an entry into new businesses and complementary enhancements to Visa’s existing business.
First, Plaid’s Fintech-centric business opens new market opportunities for Visa both in the U.S. and internationally.
Second, the combination of Visa and Plaid provides the opportunity to deliver enhanced payment capabilities and related value-added services to Fintech developers. Finally, the acquisition will enable Visa to work more closely with fintech tools through all stages of their development and drive growth in Visa’s core business.
Plaid is built on the foundation of a strong culture that embodies their commitment to value cross-team collaboration and diversity of thought. The fintech innovation is unique at Plaid– driven uniformly across the company-wide off-sites, internal hackathons, or co-worker meetups.
When we explore their recent customer-wins and API connectivity, the list is startling. Plaid’s API products seamlessly connect to thousands of apps and services. These include popular digital payments apps such as Acorns, Betterment, Chime, Transferwise and Venmo.
Millions of consumers globally rely on these apps and services to not only plan their daily expenses and to increase their savings but also secure their future using analytics and interactive dashboards.
With Plaid, Visa is expected to build secured connectivity between financial institutions and developers — which, in recent times, has become increasingly important to facilitate consumers’ ability to use Fintech applications.
According to EY Global FinTech Adoption Index 2019, “75 percent of the world’s internet-enabled consumers used a fintech application to initiate money movement in 2019 versus 18 percent in 2015.”
Plaid has been a leader in enabling this connectivity at scale. Today, one in four people with a U.S. bank account have used Plaid to connect to more than 2,600 Fintech developers across more than 11,000 financial institutions.
What’s in Store for the Future?
Zach Perret informs, “Plaid’s mission is to make money easier for everyone, and we are excited for this opportunity to continue delivering on that promise at a global scale. Visa is trusted by billions of consumers, businesses and financial institutions as a key part of the financial ecosystem, and together Visa and Plaid can support the rapid growth of digital financial services.”
Visa is among the first to adopt AI and Predictive Intelligence for Financial Services. In 2019, the company revealed how it prevented fraud worth $25 billion using AI. Today, its VisaNet is among the safest and most-secured global payment networks. It uses Visa Advanced Authorization (VAA)- an AI-based risk management and financial fraud monitoring tool. VAA has helped financial institutions promptly identify and respond to emerging fraud patterns and trends.
Al Kelly added, “This acquisition is the natural evolution of Visa’s 60-year journey from safely and securely connecting buyers and sellers to connecting consumers with digital financial services. The combination of Visa and Plaid will put us at the epicenter of the Fintech world, expanding our total addressable market and accelerating our long-term revenue growth trajectory.”
Collaboration and Competition in Fintech is Heart-warming
Visa’s closest competitors in the financial services market – PayPal and JP Morgan Chase, had a few thoughts to spare.
Dan Schulman, President and CEO, PayPal said, “We have strong relationships with both Visa and Plaid. The combination of Plaid’s capabilities with the security and scale of Visa’s global network will provide us with exciting opportunities to enhance our products.”
Gordon Smith, Co-President, JPMorgan Chase and CEO of Consumer and Community Banking, acknowledged that Visa’s acquisition of Plaid is an important development in giving consumers more security and control over how their financial data is used. Gordon said, “Protecting customer data and helping them share that information safely has long been a top priority for Chase. We look forward to partnering with Visa to continue building a great experience for our shared customers.”
Other Top Visa Competitors
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