Visa has announced that it is to buy FinTech start-up Plaid for $5.3 billion, including $4.9 billion in cash.

Founded in 2013, aggregator software provider Plaid provides APIs to link consumers’ financial data with a broad range of applications, including FinTech services. Known customers include Mint, Venom, and a number of US banks.

In 2018, Visa was a co-investor in Plaid in a $250 million funding round that valued the company at $2.6 billion, so the payments giant has had to find twice that amount for one-year’s subsequent market building – and as a statement of competitive intent.

The deal is the latest move by Visa into the FinTech space, where connectivity between consumer-driven services is becoming critically important.

“This acquisition is the natural evolution of Visa’s 60-year journey from safely and securely connecting buyers and sellers to connecting consumers with digital financial services,” said Chair and CEO Al Kelly.

He claimed the deal will put Visa “at the epicentre of the FinTech world” by expanding its total addressable market and “accelerating [its] long-term revenue growth trajectory”.

“Plaid opens up new market opportunities by significantly expanding Visa’s network capabilities,” he explained.

One driver behind the acquisition was a desire to shift aggregators towards a more secure, API-based model in order to protect consumers from unscrupulous data gathering.

The deal appears to have won the support of at least one major financial institution. “Protecting customer data and helping them share that information safely has long been a top priority for Chase,” said JPMorgan Chase’s Chief Executive of Consumer and Community Banking, Gordon Smith.

“We look forward to partnering with Visa to continue building a great experience for our shared customers.”

Be part of a discussion and connect with like-minded leaders in your sector at our exclusive event series for the banking sector – sign up here to receive the latest updates.