Card Giants Step Up FinTech Support Efforts Across EU

Visa and Mastercard are ramping up efforts to help FinTech firms develop new financial products and services, with new announcements of FinTech accelerators and other collaborative efforts. In Europe, a new online portal is debuting from banks to help FinTech firms work with traditional finance players.

Amid collaborative efforts between traditional payment players and some smaller tech-nimble upstarts, the card giants are boosting their efforts to help FinTech firms bring new products to market.

To that end, Mastercard has announced the next generation of its Accelerate program, focused on FinTech firms. According to FinTech Futures, the latest version, dubbed Accelerate 2.0, has three new features, including Global Reach, billed as a new card-issuing “territory expansion service.”

The new offering also means that Mastercard has offered a single framework for consumer cards across all 31 European Economic Area countries, said reports. Other offerings within the suite include Start Path, which links Mastercard with late-stage startup partners; API Developer Zone for developer access to standardized technology offerings; and Engage, which connects banks and merchants with technology partners.

“Transactions with our top-five FinTech customers increased more than tenfold in just one year, reaching almost 400 million in 2018,” said Jason Lane, EVP of market development for Europe at Mastercard, in a statement. “With a portfolio of initiatives and tools, such as Accelerate 2.0, providing professional measures, constant evolution and convincing results, we can comfortably offer a customized, non-standard approach for all [FinTech firms], and indeed digital giants, from product to execution.”

Separately, Visa said it launched b.yond to fast-track digital payments evolution across the EU. The innovation platform and consortium has among its founding partners Global Processing Services, Pannovate, MeaWallet, AllPay and other firms.

Through the platform, businesses can bring new payment solutions to market using Visa’s rails, with rollouts taking weeks instead of far longer. The firm also said that, through a single point of contact, businesses can satisfy the demands of Know Your Customer functions, P2P transfers, physical and virtual cards, and more. Other functions span foreign exchange and remittances.

In a statement, Visa Europe’s VP of FinTech Smriti Vicari said, “The launch of b.yond is another big step [toward] enabling our clients to gain rapid access to the capabilities that lie within Visa’s global network to power their own ideas.”

In other news, a series of banks — including Bank Leumi of Israel, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) and National Australia Bank (NAB) — debuted the Global Alliance Fintech Link. The link is part of an international banking alliance, a global online portal developed to drive client-focused innovation by facilitating collaboration between the banks and FinTech firms.

According to an announcement last week, under the terms of the partnerships, FinTech companies can offer solutions and proposals to banks as the latter identify their needs across the platform. The interactions may spur collaborative efforts between banks and FinTech firms. The platform will initially exist as a pilot, then expand.

“In big and complex banks like NAB, CIBC and Bank Leumi, it can be a challenge for [FinTech firms] with good ideas to find the right path to the right people, where their concepts can be appropriately considered,” said Jonathan Davey, executive general manager for digital and innovation at NAB.