In H1’20, investors in the payments space focused on late-stage companies, a trend that reflected investment patterns more broadly given the uncertainty related to COVID-19. During the first 6 months of the year, Stripe raised US$850 million, Chime raised US$700 million and Revolut raised US$500 million.
We will likely see more bundling of the capabilities that are necessary to deliver a seamless experience for digital transactions at the point of sale, online and through mobile. We may also see more startups focusing on vertical industries, whether it's healthcare, real estate or others to provide a highly digital and frictionless customer experience. And there will likely be larger scale acquisitions in the play as well, as we begin to look beyond domestic payments and begin thinking about cross-border.
The payments space is one area where leading corporates are not resting on their laurels. Mastercard and Visa are both active dealmakers, both from an acquisition standpoint and from a partnering perspective. Neither appears to expect money movement to continue along traditional rails. They are working to enhance the capabilities of their legacy infrastructure to emulate a more real-time money movement and to provide more capabilities, particularly in the B2B space. For example, in H2’20, Visa announced its acquisition of API-focused Plaid for US$5.3 billion1, while Mastercard announced its acquisition of open banking focused company Finicity for US$825 million2.
While large players continued to attract the lion’s share of funding in the payments space, there continued to be room for nimble organisations looking to take friction out of the payments process to attract funding. This was particularly true for companies targeting niche verticals, such as healthcare payments or cross border payments.
Heading into H2’20, the payments space will likely see more bundling of capabilities in order to deliver a more seamless customer experience for digital transactions. There will likely also be an increase in startups focusing on niche verticals, such as healthcare and real estate, and on solutions targeting the cross-border payments space.