In late June, Germany-based payments solutions provider Wirecard AG made a major foray into the North American prepaid market, announcing a definitive agreement to acquire Pennsylvania-based Citi Prepaid Services, which specializes in corporate prepaid program management. That purchase capped a flurry of partnerships and acquisitions over the past several months that have rapidly increased Wirecard’s presence in several verticals and numerous geographic markets, but the company hasn’t stopped there.
Paybefore recently spoke with Susanne Steidl, managing director, Wirecard Acquiring and Issuing GmbH, about the Citi deal and how the acquisition fits into Wirecard’s overall growth strategy.
Paybefore: Obviously, the acquisition of Citi is more than just a U.S. move because the incentive and corporate disbursements space—particularly for Citi Prepaid clientele—is largely international. Why is this a good fit globally for Wirecard?
Susanne Steidl: The international portfolio supports Wirecard’s globalization strategy to address relevant markets with global payment technology and a global licensing framework. With this portfolio, we are able to drive our approach toward digitalization. In addition, it strengthens our position as a B2B company delivering financial supply chain solutions to large corporations across the world.
Paybefore: What’s the first order of business, after closing?
SS: Wirecard is fully committed to serving the existing customer base. Innovative Wirecard technologies such as mobile payment, merchant services and risk solutions shall continue to be offered to both existing and new corporate clients.
Paybefore: What can you tell us about your plans for card issuance?
SS: Wirecard is planning to stay with Citi for a limited period. In parallel, we will be entering agreements with third-party issuers where appropriate as well as servicing our own licensing capabilities within Europe.
SS: We aim to understand the local markets in order to expand our global payment platform. In doing so, we focus on markets where Wirecard is not yet present. Omnichannel is the trigger to combine the existing sales channels also in terms of payment.
Paybefore: What excites you most about the prepaid market potential specifically?
SS: Prepaid drives cash to electronic payments across the world. It offers financial inclusion in both developed and emerging markets. In addition, mobile technology opens completely new areas like real-time money access and money disbursement for any industry, e.g., insurance compensation.
Paybefore: How will the Citi Prepaid Services business be rebranded and when?
SS: Once the deal is closed, Citi Prepaid Services will be rebranded into Wirecard.
Paybefore: Any final thoughts on the deal?
SS: Through this acquisition, we extend our global presence into the North American market. We will then enrich the existing product portfolio via our innovative issuing solutions. I am excited to work together with this truly committed team, being experts in the implementation of complex corporate solutions.
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