Mastercard to Acquire European Bank Connection API Aiia
Mastercard is back to buying up FinTechs. This week, the company announced plans to acquire to European open banking technology provider Aiia — although terms of the deal were not disclosed. The planned acquisition of Aiia comes less than a year after Mastercard completed its purchase of open banking platform Finicity for $825 million.
Of course, that transaction followed Visa’s announcement that it would purchase Plaid for a whopping $5.3 billion. However, that deal later fell through after the Department of Justice moved to block it on antitrust grounds. Nevertheless, Plaid has continued to be a dominant FinTech force, closing a $425 million funding round earlier this year.
In a press release, Mastercard’s Chief Product Officer Craig Vosburg shared the vision for the company’s acquisition of Aiia, stating, “The value of open banking comes through empowering consumers and businesses to use their own data to obtain financial services solutions simply, securely and quickly. The addition of Aiia anchors our European open banking efforts and allows us to continue to meet our customers where they are.” Vosburg went on to say, “As open banking continues to ignite innovation, we’re committed to providing a unique set of technology platforms, data connectivity and infrastructure combined with data privacy and security principles. This will help FinTechs and financial institutions innovate, gather feedback and scale faster and more effectively than ever to power smarter, more meaningful experiences.”
On the other end of the transaction, Aiia founder and CEO Rune Mai noted the larger vision of the company, saying, “For the past decade, we have worked to build Aiia into a leading and quality-driven open banking platform, which has onboarded hundreds of banks and FinTechs onto safe and secure open banking rails. We have worked closely alongside banks, customers, and local authorities to ensure that our APIs show the true effect of open banking.” On the prospect of joining Mastercard, Mai said, “We’re excited to become a part of Mastercard and progress our journey of empowering people to bring their financial data and accounts into play – safely and transparently.”
Through its acquisitions of Finicity and now Aiia, it’s clear that Mastercard has a vision for what role it can play in the future of finance and banking. Meanwhile, Visa must be frustrated that Mastercard is able to grow this aspect of its business while its aspirations were scuttled by regulators. On that note, it will be interesting to see if the FinTech’s joined under Mastercard’s umbrella might eventually prove to be a force capable of taking on Plaid — but we’ll need to wait on the answer to that one.