JP Morgan aims to expand its payment business in Europe

On January 25, US bank JP Morgan announced that it had acquired a 49% stake in Viva Wallet, a Greek payments company. At a time when some banks on the Old Continent are divesting their assets, JP Morgan intends to occupy an important position in European payments.

European payments sector: JP Morgan's ambitions

According to a Boston Consulting Group report published last October, global revenues in the payments sector are set to almost double by 2030, from $1.5 trillion to $2.9 trillion.

Europe is not to be outdone, and American bank JP Morgan intends to play a key role in this fast-growing sector, as demonstrated by its recent investment. At the end of January, JP Morgan acquired 49% of Greek payment company Viva Wallet.

The acquisition of a 49% stake in Viva Wallet, which specializes in payment services for small and medium-sized businesses in 23 European countries, will enable JP Morgan to begin " offering payment and transaction services entirely dedicated to SMEs throughout Europe ", says the US bank in a press release.

The European payments market attracts a wide range of players

For JP Morgan's Global Head of Payments, Takis Georgakopoulos, the European payments area is considered a priority, because of the " additional growth " it can offer the US bank in the future.

According to him, " the payments landscape in Europe is fragmented, but vast in terms of opportunities, with over 17 million merchants ready to implement scalable payment solutions ", he stated in the press release "J.P. Morgan to acquire a stake in Viva Wallet" published following the acquisition of Viva Wallet's shares.

On the contrary, some European banks have opted to sell off their payment assets, such as BNP Paribas, which has sold its Italian subsidiary Axepta.

The latter has been 80% acquired by French payments leader Worldline, which sees the Italian and Greek markets as highly promising, for two reasons.

  • Firstly, there are a lot of tourists, which means that the average shopping basket is higher.
  • Secondly, cash is still widely used in these markets, which means that digital payments are likely to grow significantly.

For some years now, Worldline has been concentrating on acquiring banks' payment activities. Last December, the French payment leader acquired 80% of the payment activities of the Greek bank Eurobank, at a cost of 256 million euros. Eurobank holds a portfolio of 123,000 merchants.

By May 2021, Worldline had acquired Cardlink, the Greek number 1 in payment acceptance. Worldline will now have to contend with JP Morgan's presence in the European payments sector.