Marqeta and Plaid are teaming up. It’s a sign that fintech is maturing.

Two companies known for powering other startups are giving each other a boost.

Plaid and Marqeta logos

Plaid and Marqeta both support other fintechs. Now they're the ones teaming up.

Image: Protocol

Marqeta and Plaid are making it easier for consumers to authenticate bank accounts and move funds between them, the first official product partnership between two fintech trailblazers that already share some business customers.

Marqeta, which issues cards for companies like Block and Uber, will use Plaid’s data-aggregation software to enable faster ACH transactions and account verification for Marqeta cardholders, the company said Tuesday.

“The way that's done in the past is you have to verify your external bank accounts via microdeposits, and that takes a lot of time,” Marqeta Chief Operating Officer Vidya Peters told Protocol. “With the Plaid integration, it would just be a few clicks.”

Plaid COO Eric Sager said the partnership means removing a major pain point for consumers: “In order to fund the wallet, which then funds a card, they have to go through a daylong or a weeklong micro-deposit flow. They want to go through seamless flow,” he told Protocol.

Founded in 2010, Marqeta became the fintech force behind a lot of famous names, including Square (now Block), Coinbase and Uber. It even has JPMorgan Chase — a big card-issuer in its own right — as a customer. The company, which went public in June 2021, has seen its stock price slide since its IPO. But news of the Plaid partnership appeared to give its share a lift, gaining nearly 9% in Tuesday’s trading.

Marqeta COO Vidya Peters and Plaid COO Eric Sager. Marqeta COO Vidya Peters and Plaid COO Eric Sager.Photo: Marqeta, Plaid

Plaid, which was founded in 2013, emerged as a fintech powerhouse through data-aggregation technology that gave many startups unprecedentedly easy tools to access consumer data.

Their alliance underlines the rapid expansion of fintech, said Alex Johnson, director of Fintech Research at Cornerstone Advisors.

“It’s a timing and market maturity thing,” he told Protocol. “We are just now reaching the stage where there are multiple, mature layers of fintech infrastructure in place to help new companies quickly spin up new financial experiences.”

The alliance benefits both companies, he said. It would give Marqeta access to a “more robust set of APIs for card issuing.” The partnership also means Plaid will have the ability to “embed” its technology in other fintech infrastructure providers’ products, Johnson said. The partnership could mean prospective customers will ask, “Which card issuing or banking-as-a-service platform should we use?” instead of “Which data aggregation service should we use?” which could mean “a broader base of potential fintech developers that they can reach.”

Given the growth of fintech, partnerships like the one Marqeta and Plaid just formed will “become much more common over the next couple of years, followed, in many cases, by acquisitions,” Johnson said.


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Image: Niantic

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Niantic also announced a new service called Campfire that adds a social discovery layer to AR, starting with Niantic’s own games. Both announcements show that Niantic wants to be much more than a game developer with just one or two hit apps (and a couple of flops). Instead, it aims to play a key role in the future of AR — and it’s relying on millions of Ingress and Pokémon Go players to help build that future.

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Janko Roettgers

Janko Roettgers (@jank0) is a senior reporter at Protocol, reporting on the shifting power dynamics between tech, media, and entertainment, including the impact of new technologies. Previously, Janko was Variety's first-ever technology writer in San Francisco, where he covered big tech and emerging technologies. He has reported for Gigaom, Frankfurter Rundschau, Berliner Zeitung, and ORF, among others. He has written three books on consumer cord-cutting and online music and co-edited an anthology on internet subcultures. He lives with his family in Oakland.

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