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Global payment leaders Visa and MasterCard step up fintech game

Transnational payments leader MasterCard has unveiled a series of open-banking oriented partnerships and initiatives this week; including inking a deal with fintech superstar Starling bank, who will help the financial institution settle funds sent within the UK via P2P through the Mastercard Send service. Meanwhile, its archrival Visa has just launched the $100 venture investment fund and a fast track programme for onboarding fintech startups to its network.

The reveal closely follows several tie-ins Mastercard has made this week, including an announcement that it was working on a  ‘pan-European directory of verified and legitimate third party providers backed by a fraud monitoring service and dispute resolution mechanism’ to help narrow communication gaps between fintechs and their banking partners. On top of expanding its fintech portfolio (of which already includes popular names like Klarna, solarisBank and Payworks), Visa is extending its collaborative reach by closing deals with Evry, Jaja, Revolut and Wirecard to create new consumer and merchant experiences.

Although the partnerships are not bucking the overall trend of financial incumbents attempting to create symbiotic relationships with emerging fintechs, both Visa and Mastercard are starting to increase their open banking stakes in remarkably similar  ways.Both payments giants have not only chosen to invest in fintechs as venture assets, but also commitment to growing them and incorporating third party fintech services directly into their product offering. Perhaps signalling the beginning of an end to their decades old bitter rivalry, both MasterCard and Visa have collaborated with NXP to jointly launch its new mWallet 2GO, a white-label wallet service developed on the NXP Secure Service 2GO Platform.

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