What Visa’s acquisition of Tink means for the Indian fintech ecosystem

API infrastructure startups are getting major attention from payments multinationals. But such companies are hard to come by in India. Here, regulators are prioritizing free flow of data through open protocols than via regulated third-party entities, which is having a mixed impact on the ecosystem

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By 

Pratik Bhakta

June 28, 2021

4 Min Read

Visa, which has been on the prowl for an API banking firm for a while now, last week announced the acquisition of Swedish open banking platform Tink for $2.2 billion. It had earlier sought to acquire US-based Plaid for $5.2 billion but the deal fell through because of antitrust issues. Tink had been valued at $825 million in December.

The eagerness of companies like Visa to acquire startups that provide the infrastructure for software linkages between banks and other platforms has global significance. But for India’s fintech ecosystem, quite mature by global standards, this is a missed opportunity.

India does not yet have an entity at the scale of Plaid or a Tink. Why? Perhaps the answer lies in the approach of Indian regulators in collaboration with tech policy think tank iSPIRT, which prefers such solutions to be designed as a public good and owned by the industry collectively. More about this in the later half of The Crux. First, let us look at the deal itself.

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