March 27, 2020
Technological change and the rise of competitors are creating significant disruption in the traditional consumer-merchant payments space, which Visa and Mastercard have grown to dominate. However, these behemoths are not standing still and have pursued an aggressive policy of acquisition and investment to complement their significant in-house development efforts. These efforts are acting to bolster their core business and simultaneously evolve and expand their offerings.
Visa partnership with the Paga, a Nigerian FinTech payments player, was just another move by Visa in its global expansion plans. Partnerships are one way to look at the growth story and strategic direction, but if we take a look at the last two years’ acquisitions and strategic investment history of Visa and Mastercard, we can find their area of focus for inorganic growth.
The biggest of them all is Visa’s recent acquisition of Plaid for a whopping $5.3 billion. It is interesting to observe that both Visa and Mastercard were early investors in the company, along with some big FS names such as Goldman Sachs, Citi, and American Express. Plaid powers some of the leading industry names such as Venmo, Betterment, Coinbase, American Express, Acorns, and others.