Merchant Innovation

AmEx, BBVA And NBA Team Up

Looking to expand its national operations, and in keeping with its penchant for partnering with major sports leagues, BBVA Compass teamed up with American Express and the NBA to unveil a new credit card partnership in New York City, according to a Feb. 17 press release. The credit card will be the first to bear the global NBA brand and offer fans exclusive perks from both BBVA and American Express, as well as the chance to customize their card with their favorite team logo.

For BBVA, the partnership with American Express is meant to help the company get beyond its “footprint” in the Sunbelt and grow nationally, using the NBA as the vehicle for the new card’s adoption as it did for its successful digital-only banking service NBA Banking.

“American Express is one of the world’s most trusted brands and the NBA has some of the world’s most passionate fans,” said BBVA Compass Chairman and CEO Manolo Sanchez. “We certainly were thinking big with this new partnership.”

BBVA has been trying to establish itself in the digital banking beyond just the NBA-centered service. In September, the bank was part of a $75 million investment in Bitcoin startup Coinbase, along with the New York Stock Exchange and USAA. It also purchased the “nonbank” Simple, which was supposed to represent an alternative to traditional banking, but has been beset by glitches since last fall.

Based in Spain, BBVA has a history of sports partnerships. Aside from being the NBA’s official bank, it also has naming rights to the home of Major League Soccer team Houston Dynamo, BBVA Compass Stadium, as well as sponsorship rights to La Liga, Spain’s top flight soccer league. The bank also provides benefits for fans of the University of Alabama and Auburn University athletic programs as part of its “Sports Fan Banking” feature for checking and credit accounts.




The pressure on banks to modernize their payments capabilities to support initiatives such as ISO 20022 and instant/real time payments has been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the compelling need to quickly scale operations due to the rapid growth of contactless payments, and subsequent increase in digitization. Given this new normal, the need for agility and optimization across the payments processing value chain is imperative.

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