Visa Buys Tink in $2.1B Open Banking Play

Sweden's Tink offers Visa an entrée to a fast-growing market that "has the potential to create an alternative" to debit- and credit-card networks.
Matthew HellerJune 24, 2021

Visa said Thursday it had agreed to buy Swedish fintech startup Tink for $2.1 billion in a move to grab a chunk of Europe’s fast-growing open banking market.

Under European law, banks must provide third-party firms with access to customer data if the customers have consented. This has created an opportunity for companies such as Tink, which provides technology so banks can access aggregated financial data, initiate payments, verify account ownership, and build personal-finance management tools.

According to Visa, Tink is now integrated with more than 3,400 banks and financial institutions, reaching millions of bank customers across Europe.

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Visa’s acquisition of the Swedish firm comes five months after it abandoned its bid to purchase Plaid, an American rival of Vink, for $5.3 billion amid opposition from U.S. regulators.

“Visa is committed to doing all we can to foster innovation and empower consumers in support of Europe’s open banking goals,” Visa CEO Al Kelly said in a news release. “By bringing together Visa’s network of networks and Tink’s open banking capabilities, we will deliver increased value to European consumers and businesses with tools to make their financial lives more simple, reliable, and secure.”

As The Wall Street Journal reports, “Widespread adoption of open banking has the potential to create an alternative to the debit- and credit-card networks that dominate the payments world.”

“These open banking initiatives are gaining maturity and momentum very quickly, and they are going to become a real alternative to the card infrastructure and the card networks,” said Hiroki Takeuchi, the founder of London-based startup GoCardless Ltd.

Tink was founded by Swedish entrepreneurs Daniel Kjellén and Fredrik Hedberg in 2012, initially offering a financial management app but later focusing on providing its technology to other businesses.

The company was last privately valued at 680 million euros and has raised more than $300 million from investors, including PayPal, SEB, and ABN AMRO.

“Joining Visa, we will be able to move faster and reach further than ever before. Visa is the perfect partner for the next stage of Tink’s journey,” Kjellén said.