Card Wars, Part Deux

We have written in the past about the escalating arms race among the nation’s major card networks. In the past year, the likes of Visa, Mastercard, Amerian Express, and Discover have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in acquiring start-ups and fintechs in the real-time payments, money movement, and data spaces.

The latest salvo came this week, when Mastercard plunked down a whopping $3.19 billion to acquire Danish firm Nets, an electronic billing platform offering clearing and instant-payment services. The deal is expected to close in 2020 and represents Mastercard’s biggest-ever acquisition, per Bloomberg.

It’s also clearly a move with an eye towards the future; the company said it expects the acquisition will hurt profit for as much as two years. But with real-time payments ramping up in the U.S., Mastercard seems to be making a strategic move it hopes will bear fruit in the long term.