Jun 10, 2021

Marqeta’s IPO shines a light on fintech fees

Fintech
IPO
Banking
Payments
2 min
Shares of payment processing company Marqeta closed up 13% after its market debut Wednesday on the Nasdaq

Marqeta, a fintech company, raised $1.2 billion with an initial public offering that priced high and exceeded expectations. The company priced its shares at $27, above the expected range of $20 to $24, and giving it a market valuation near $15 billion. Marqeta stock jumped 13%, closing at 30.52 on the stock market today.

This IPO adds to a number of recent fintech listings from companies such as the online lender SoFi and the no-fee brokerage Robinhood.

Founded in 2010 and based in Oakland, California, Marqeta sells payment technology that’s designed to detect potential fraud and ensure that money is properly routed. The company also creates customised branded debit cards and prepaid cards for corporate customers that include the delivery group DoorDash and Swedish fintech Klarna, as well as Square.

A large amount of Marqeta’s revenue comes from interchange fees, which is the transaction fee that merchants pay whenever a customer uses a credit/debit card to make a purchase. Due to the Durbin Amendment in the 2010 Dodd Frank Act, banks that have under $10bn in assets receive higher interchange fees than larger lenders from the transactions. 

This has allowed fintech start-ups, such as Marqeta and Chime, which is a personal finance app in the US, to take advantage of this by partnering with small banks and taking a cut of the fees. 

An increase in profits

Marqeta’s business has drastically increased during the pandemic as people in lockdown have turned to digital financial services such as Square’s Cash App and ecommerce companies such as DoorDash. The company more than doubled net revenues to $290m last year while narrowing losses to $48m. Business from Square made up 73% of Marqeta’s net revenue in the first quarter, which was an increase from the previous year. Marqeta’s agreements with Square last until 2024, according to the company.

Ian Johnson, SVP, Managing Director, Europe, Marqeta: “As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, more people are relying on digital payments to move through each day. Companies throughout Europe are looking for ways to offer better payment solutions for their customers. Marqeta is proud to be a publicly traded company and looks forward to bringing an even greater focus to scaling our products and delivering modern card issuing that launches cards quickly and provides greater flexibility than traditional card programmes. We’re pleased to support European businesses with ambition and purpose who use our platform to help write the future of payments.” 

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Jun 17, 2021

Zafin: Banking is now in the era of the tech ecosystem

Zafin
Banking
Technology
Digital
3 min
FinTech Magazine holds a Q&A session with John Smith, EVP Ecosystem at Zafin, on the evolution of banking and its future as an aspect of tech ecosystems

The development of tech ecosystems is placing the future of post-COVID banking in jeopardy. At a time when Big Tech can replicate the functions of traditional financial institutions, what can banks do to retain a grip on the market?

John Smith, EVP Ecosystem at Zafin, has a few ideas. A SaaS cloud-native product and pricing platform for financial institutions, Zafin is preparing the next generation of banks to cope with this precise challenge.

Smith is responsible for the strategic and tactical management of the company’s ecosystem, including the creation of new business models to support growth and differentiation. We asked him four questions:  

Q. Have the events of the pandemic caused an irreversible shift in the digitalisation of banks? If so, is COVID the sole cause or are there other factors?

It’s a great question and one that I am asked a lot. Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has driven a significant shift in the acceleration of digital. In fact, I’ve seen some estimates show there to have been as much as four to six years of digital adoption growth since the initial lockdown started. 

While the pandemic may be the primary reason for this growth, two other drivers include fintech disruption and the high costs of operating a traditional retail bank. Both of these factors have caught the attention of banking executives as they set their minds on accelerating digital transformation with a focus on high return, low risk. 

Q. Some commentators believe banks must learn from Big Tech in order to survive. Do you agree? Please expand. 

I agree completely; we’re living in the era of the ‘ecosystem’. All the seismic shifts we’re seeing in technology, be it aggregation, embedded finance, DeFi or hyper-personalisation are all enabled by the foundation of an ecosystem.  

When financial institutions work with a strategic partner like Zafin, which has made the strategic investments in a best-in-class ecosystem, they’re able to capitalise on opportunities more quickly and safely, and will be better positioned for growth now and at the other side of the pandemic. 

Q. What are currently the obstacles to adopting Open Banking? Is it more likely to 'take off' in some regions rather than others?

I would argue that Open Banking has been in the US for some time and will only continue to grow there. By definition, Open Banking is about the secure sharing of financial information that customers are aware of and have authorised. Under that definition, we’re seeing aspects of this well underway even though its full potential remains to be seen.

Third-Party Providers are a natural outcome of Open Banking, whereby they can create propositions beyond what a bank normally does to enable banking functions such as payments, borrowing, saving and so on. Once again, some of these are already present through industry-led initiatives, whereas regions such as the EU have taken the pathway of regulation such as PSD2.  

The industry-led initiatives we’ve seen in the US have also had the added advantage of guard-rails that regulatory bodies like FFIEC and CFPB provide. There are also other technology-led initiatives such as API definitions that are set out through the FS-ISAC. 

I would argue the future of Open Banking in North America will be through the natural evolution of the guidelines and API definitions that have been published, as well as the natural progression of industry initiatives. 

Q. Are there any other bank tech trends you'd like to discuss? 

Coreless banking. Zafin has been pioneering some of the work around externalising functions out of the legacy core to drive a more ‘fintech nimble’ bank, while not having to deliver a ‘heart and lungs’ core bank replacement. 

Real life examples of this include moving some of the core functions of a banking system, such as product and pricing to a platform like Zafin. Origination, onboarding, KYC, risk, and compliance are all other examples of externalising banking functions for added agility.

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