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US: Visa acquires control of Earthport

 |  May 8, 2019

Visa, the payments company, announced Wednesday, May 8, that it has acquired Earthport, a cross-border payment company catering to banks, money transfer services providers and businesses around the world. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In a press release, Visa stated that with the acquisition it will be possible for Visa clients to enable individuals, businesses and governments to use Visa to send and receive money through banks accounts. Earthport operates one of the biggest independent ACH networks in the world. Visa stated that before the deal, Visa enabled payments to be sent to and from other Visa cards. Via Earthport Visa said it expects to be able to reach most of the banked population across the globe, enabling them to send money worldwide more quickly and easily. According to the payments company, while close to US$80 trillion is sent via wire transfer or bank account, the process is complex, with money in some cases taking days to arrive.

“Visa is modernizing the way we move money by making it quicker, safer and easier to pay and be paid than ever before,” said Bill Sheley, head of global push payments at Visa, in a press release announcing the deal. “The acquisition of Earthport unleashes the power of Visa by taking us ‘beyond the card,’ empowering us to enable our clients to make payments through bank accounts around the world.”

Visa said that Earthport’s technology will enable it to expand and scale the Visa Direct portfolio, which includes funds disbursements, peer-to-peer payments, cross-border payments, marketplace payouts, and bill payments. Over the last twelve months, Visa Direct’s transaction count growth has continued to be over 100%. Visa said that shows demand for faster, smarter money movement among consumers and businesses around the world is growing. Visa noted that Earthport’s technology can be used in many cases including payroll, international person-to-person payments, and business-to-business remittances.

Late last year, Reuters reported Visa International Service Association was gearing up to pay US$250.6 million to acquire UK-based Earthport. The stock deal, in which the Visa unit reportedly offered 30 pence for each Earthport share, gave the UK payments company a value that was four times the stock’s closing price at the time.

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