Visa wants to be everywhere that millennials want to be, and is spending big bucks to land those young, future customers.
Visa’s $5.3 billion purchase of fintech firm Plaid, whose technology enables millennial-friendly payment platforms including Venmo. It was the latest fintech deal from Visa, following last year’s agreement with the U.K. online bank Revolut, and comes on the heels of private equity funds raising record amounts for similar investments.
The Boomer-era credit card firm paying handsomely for eight-year old Plaid and its 400 employees suggests other young consumer fintech firms are at play, although valuations for fintech unicorms like Stripe and Robinhood Markets are soaring.
Three-quarters of Internet-enabled consumers on the planet used a fintech application to initiate a transfer of money last year, compared with 18% in 2015, according to the Visa statement.
“Visa’s deal for Plaid will make it a global fintech enabler, adding a large, high-growth revenue path and potential to fuel more payment transactions, with the $5.3 billion price a bet on the role Visa’s network will play in all payments,” Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Julie Chariell wrote.
One in four people with a U.S. bank account have used Plaid to connect to more than 11,000 financial institutions, the Visa statement said, citing Ernst & Young data.
“Not surprising to see this kind of consolidation, and expect this will set the stage for more to come in 2020 — in fintech, crypto and beyond,” Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse wrote on Twitter. Ripple uses blockchain technology to transfer money across borders and also operates a cryptocurrency.
- “Plaid represents a highly effective way for Visa to be at the epicenter of the continued boom in FinTech,” Jefferies analyst Trevor Williams said in a note quoted by Bloomberg.
- “They want us to operate as an independent business unit so we can keep doing what we do best,” Plaid CEO Zach Perret said in a statement on the company’s website. “We’ll be able to lean on their brand, resources, and international footprint if doing so can benefit our customers, our partners, and the markets we serve.”