As the two biggest payments companies in the world, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Mastercard and Visa are both always looking for ways to stay ahead of the competition—especially in the FinTech sector.
Through the years, Visa and Mastercard have worked with third-party merchants on various smart chip technologies for contactless payment, touch-and-go, and pay-with-a-wave transactions. They also both launched a card with an embedded fingerprint scanner, making multiple passwords obsolete, and are getting set to offer “tokenization services,” which generate a unique token for each individual credit card to prevent hackers from accessing consumer data.
In addition, many of the biggest leaders in FinTech—Apple, PayPal, Square, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, Facebook Credits, Stripe, and Coinbase—have partnered with either Visa or Mastercard on their services.
“We work closely with PayPal and we compete with PayPal,” said Al Kelly, Visa’s chief executive. “It’s an industry that is full of frenemies. My view on this is simple: We should talk to everybody. We should assume everybody can be additive to the payments ecosystem, and talk about how we can work together, as opposed to just assuming people are disruptive or assuming they’re an enemy.”
Just last month Visa announced that it was acquiring Plaid — which allows consumers to share their data with thousands of apps — for $5.3 billion. Visa noted that the acquisition will enable it to work more closely with FinTechs through all stages of development, as well as boost growth in Visa’s core business.
And last July, the company said it was expanding its Fast Track program to the United States after successful launches in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia Pacific. The program pairs Visa’s network of partners with FinTech startups. In fact, in an interview last year with PYMNTS, Terry Angelos, senior vice president and global head of FinTech at Visa, explained that “the heart of our FinTech program is around partnerships.”
As for Mastercard, last year it launched Mastercard Accelerate, a global initiative that enables FinTechs to onboard to Mastercard in a matter of weeks, as well as guide them through the experience. The new solution includes Mastercard’s numerous programs, such as Mastercard Fintech Express, Mastercard Engage, Mastercard Start Path and more.