FinTech Startup Astra Joins Visa’s Fast Track Program
For FinTech startups, speed is the name of the game. As we’ve seen time and time again, it’s important for these firms to acquire customers as quickly as possible, with venture capital often helping fuel their race against the clock. That’s where the Visa Fast Track program comes in, making it easier for apps and tools to utilize the company’s infrastructure. The latest FinTech to come aboard the Visa Fast Track ship is none other than Astra.
Astra helps users build up their savings via automated transfers. This includes the ability to set various “routines” in order to reach savings goals. For example users can elect to have Astra monitor their spending account, round up purchases to the nearest dollar, and transfer the rest. Other options include participating in a 52-week savings challenge, sweeping funds when an account tops a specific balance, performing scheduled transfers, and more.
Previously Astra’s transfers had utilized Automated Clearing House (ACH) bank transfers. However, according to a press release, the addition of a VisaNet option will allow for quicker settlement times. Moreover the company teases the ability for even more routine types that Astra can offer. Incidentally Astra currently connects user accounts via Plaid — a service that Visa recently acquired for $5.3 billion.
Reflecting on how joining Visa Fast Track helps his company, Astra co-founder and CEO Gil Akos said in a statement, “Our mission is to increase the efficiency of your finances, by mapping the graph of your accounts and automating the movement of funds through it. Collaborating with Visa means we have a step function increase in the types of accounts that may send or receive funds through our platform as well as the speed at which we can transfer those funds for you.” Akos concluded, “We are excited by the magnitude of how this will empower our users.” Meanwhile Visa SVP and Global Head of Fintech Terry Angelos noted, “By joining Visa’s Fast Track program, exciting Fintechs like Astra gain unprecedented access to Visa experts, technology, and resources. Fast Track lets us provide new resources that rapidly growing companies need to scale with efficiency.”
If you’ll recall, Visa Fast Track made its U.S. debut last fall. Prior to that the program had launched in other regions around the world, including Europe, Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East. In order to bring Fast Track stateside, Visa partnered with Green Dot, Stripe, Alloy, and Q2. Additionally Andreessen Horowitz, Trinity Ventures, and others agreed to bring some of the companies in their portfolios to Fast Track.
It’s no surprise that startups like Astra are finding Visa’s Fast Track program appealing. What’s more this particular partnership may hint at how Visa can leverage their purchase of Plaid to expand their relationship with FinTechs that are already utilizing that platform. As for Astra, it will be interesting to see what new features they’re able to offer in the months ahead.