The Nilson Report

Issue 1145 | Jan 2019

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Companies featured in this issue include:

Credit Card Outstandings in the U.S.

Visa Wants B2B Cross-Border Payments Company

Card Transactions Projected Worldwide

Self-Sovereign Identity Using DLT

Pine Labs Merchant Services

IATA Financial Services

Fingopay Vein ID Biometric Authentication

Ingenico ePayments in Russia

Investments & Acquisitions—December 2018

MoreFun POS Terminal

EMV Solution for Gas Pumps

JCB QR Code Payments in Asia

Citi Rewards+ Credit Card

Mastercard Streamlines Corporate Logo

U.S. General Purpose Cards, Outstandings vs. Purchase Volume

Investments & Acquisitions—December 2018

Projected Growth of Purchase Transactions Worldwide

Outstandings as a Percentage of Purchase Volume on U.S. General Purpose Cards 1990-2018

Investments & Acquisitions—December 2018

A total of 43 acquisitions, joint ventures, and investment transactions occurred in 12 countries in December 2018. The top five deals with disclosed values are listed below.

1. 1. Earthport, United Kingdom
Visa, $252.0 mil.
2. 2. Plaid, United States
Series C, $250.0 mil.
3. 3. Earnin, United States
Series C, $125.0 mil.
4. 4. Danal, South Korea
Boku, $112.0 mil.
5. 5. Cross River Bank, United States
Venture round, $100.0 mil.

Full access to the Investments & Acquisitions—December 2018 table is available when you subscribe to The Nilson Report.


Pine Labs Merchant Services

Pine Labs’ cloud-based services platform connects to 100,000 merchants in India that operate 330,000 POS terminals. The terminals operate on reduced functionality. They simply route transactions to Pine Labs, which then routes them to acquiring banks. Payments can be initiated by cards, QR codes, or phone-number billing. Pine Labs also handles mobile payments from apps such as PhonePe and Google Pay when merchants are not directly signed to acceptance deals by the wallet provider. 

In addition to payments, Pine Labs’ platform also facilitates business loans to merchants and installment loans to cardholders making in-store purchases.

Installment loans are handled by connecting cardholders to credit and debit card issuers that handle all underwriting. Merchant loans are underwritten by Pine Labs and nonbank finance company partners. Pine Labs integrates with a merchant’s billing system, which gives a full picture of all sales. When lending to smaller merchants, Pine Labs and partners share the risk. Sixty percent of Pine Labs’ clients are Tier 1 merchants. Those large merchants handle 80% of all card payments in India. 

A loyalty-services platform operated by Pine Labs is used by clients including Starbucks. The company also offers a prepaid rewards card called Pine Perks, usable at all Pine Labs’ merchants. Clients for this business-to-business product include telecoms. 

India experienced growth in debit card transactions in the 17% range last year after the government required two-factor authentication, causing consumer confidence to rise. 

Pine Labs’ own growth last year included an expansion into Malaysia, where it connects to multiple acquirers. The company received two funding rounds totaling $200 million last year. Pine Labs’ net after allowing for secondary sales was $140 million, all of which now sits in the bank. 

Expansion plans for 2019 and 2020 include signing merchants in Thailand, Indonesia, and the United Arab Emirates. Within India, where the company already connects to 75% of the country’s 80,000 Tier I merchants, Pine Labs will expand by approaching Tier II and Tier III merchants. Many of those smaller merchants will use a mobile app in their smartphones to handle bill payments in addition to purchases initiated by cards, QR codes, and phone-number billing. 

Vicky Bindra is CEO at Pine Labs Pvt. Ltd. in Bangalore, India, 91 (180) 0103-9765,,

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