Visa finalizes its $2 billion deal to acquire Swedish Fintech Tink

abdelaziz Fathi

Payments giant Visa announced it has completed the acquisition of Tink, a Swedish startup whose application programming interfaces (APIs) connect more than 3,400 financial institutions in Europe.

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First announcing the deal in June 2021, the takeover builds on an existing strategic partnership between the two companies, and values Tink at more than $2 billion. Tink will retain its brand and current management team, and its headquarters will remain in  Stockholm.

Visa is buying Tink, which has been a leading fintech startup in Europe, to establish itself in a fast-growing open banking market. The current regulations allow the largest US card network to access European customers’ data at competing institutions, if the customers have granted consent.

Through a single API, Tink’s software allows banks and financial technology firms to plug into their customers’ financial accounts and access their financial data to look up balances or authenticate personal details. Tink allows its customers to access aggregated risk insights, account verification, and build personal finance management tools. The integration with hundreds of banks and financial institutions allows the firm to reach millions of bank clients across Europe.

“Digital tools are driving the new economy, and the combination of Visa and Tink will support greater choice and quality of digital money services as the lines between commerce, financial services and payments continue to converge,” said Charlotte Hogg, CEO of Visa Europe.

Visa abandoned its acquisition of Plaid

Daniel Kjellén, CEO and co-founder of Tink, added: “Global networks enable innovators to scale, and Visa provides the best foundation for Tink to build on. Visa will help Tink increase its connectivity to more than 15,000 financial institutions, utilizing Visa’s consumer trust and brand recognition to develop the future of financial services, that we can together offer to clients throughout Europe, and around the globe.”

The acquisition comes barely a year after Visa abandoned its bid to buy another popular open banking startup, Plaid. Originally, Visa planned to pay $5.3 billion to acquire the Silicon Valley start-up, but it had to call off the deal after running into a regulatory wall.

At the time, the US Justice Department voiced concerns over nascent competition in the payments sector. To confirm its point of view, the department quoted Visa’s CEO, Alfred Kelly as saying the acquisition is an “insurance policy to protect their important US debit business.” He was also concerned that unless acquired, Plaid could cut out up to 500 million from Visa’s debit business by 2024. The DoJ added that Visa leveraged its monopolist position in online debit services to extract billions of dollars from Americans.

Plaid, which connects a quarter of US bank accounts through apps of its clients, counts high-profile customers like Betterment, Venmo, Robinhood and also the top US cryptocurrency exchanges, including Coinbase and Gemini. These big names are among the more than 6,000 providers that rely on Plaid’s infrastructure to connect with 200 million bank accounts across 11,000 US financial institutions.

 

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