Banking’s New Wave

By Bill Gajda, Global Head, Innovation & Strategic Partnerships • Visa

March 08, 2018

In the late 1970s, there was a New Wave movement in music that grew out of the punk tradition, incorporating synthesisers and other technology. In a similar vein, we’re seeing a new wave in banking as digital and challenger banks disrupt traditional financial institutions. And, like their musical kin, the new wave of banking is also using technology to break out and change the industry.

One of the most exciting companies in this next generation of banking is solarisBank out of Germany – and, today, Visa announced that we are participating in the company’s series B round of funding as one of four new strategic investors. Founded in 2016, solarisBank is a banking platform that offers services across three lines: digital banking and cards; financial and credit; and payment and escrow.

This investment and partnership opportunity excites us because we think that the idea of “banking as a service” has the potential to enable new banks, as well as existing Visa clients, to expand their product offering quickly and easily. Their API-first model for bundling services complements our own Visa Developer Platform by offering flexible platforms that companies can build from flexibly, depending on their customers’ needs.

In addition to solarisBank’s solid track record – in the two years since launch, solarisBank has grown to 60 corporate clients in seven countries, with plans to increase in both client base and geographic coverage – we also see this investment as an opportunity to demonstrate our interest in and commitment to promoting digital payments in Germany. This is an extraordinary region, with a population that embraces efficiency and technology – yet, still maintains a very traditional attitude towards money and banking. This is a country that is ripe for the new wave in banking and we think that solarisBank is a positive step in that direction.

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