Visa Inc. agreed to pay more than $2 billion for Tink, a Swedish startup whose digital services connect more than 3,400 banks and financial institutions in Europe.
The largest U.S. card network is buying the financial-technology company to establish itself in Europe’s fast-growing open banking market. Open banking regulation in the European Union and U.K. enables financial companies to access customers and their data at competing institutions, if the customers have granted consent.
Banks and consumer-facing financial startups use Tink’s services to create apps and other tools that let customers manage accounts at different institutions in one place.
The banks and financial institutions that Tink connects have more than 250 million customers in Europe. Through Tink, banks can access aggregated financial data, initiate payments, verify account ownership and build personal-finance management tools. Tink, founded in 2012, has 400 employees.
Widespread adoption of open banking has the potential to create an alternative to the debit- and credit-card networks that dominate the payments world. The acquisition of Tink is a sign of Visa preparing for that, according to Hiroki Takeuchi, the founder of London-based startup GoCardless Ltd., which operates a bank-debit network to rival credit and debit cards.