Card Wars

The nation’s major card networks are seemingly in a fierce acquisition battle as they try to differentiate themselves from one another and from upstart fintech competitors as well. This week, Mastercard announced it has acquired Ethoca, which makes collaboration-based technology that enables card issuers, ecommerce merchants, and online businesses to increase card acceptance and recover lost revenue. This comes on the heels of its other recent acquisitions of fintech point-of-sale company Vyze and cross-border network Transfast.

Meanwhile, Visa recently acquired a cross-border payments company of its own, Earthport, in an attempt to expand its money movement network. This week, it also participated in a $250-million Series E funding round for card issuing platform Marqeta, a company with which Visa already has a partnership.

Not to be outdone, American Express has also recently acquired a spate of restaurant technology companies as it aims to add more services for its cardmembers.

What does this all mean? It’s clear that value-added services are prized more than ever before. The major card networks are not only competing against one another and other incumbent institutions, but against a whole host of fintechs as well. Consumers have a multitude of ways to make payments, both physically and digitally. It’s all about remaining “top-of-wallet” and ensuring consumers use their company’s card the most among the myriad options.