Slideshow 7 Unlikely Payments Partnerships

  • July 29 2016, 9:58am EDT
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Many times, bitter rivals must set aside their differences for the common good. This has happened a lot in recent years as the payments industry adjusts to the fast pace of innovation.


Not long after Visa CEO Charles Scharf tore into PayPal for attempting to be "frenemies" instead of a true ally, the companies reached an agreement on data sharing and fees. However, peace came at a price for both; the news read more like a legal settlement than a marriage vow.

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Walmart and Visa are still at each other's throats over fees and debit routing, but they can still find some common ground. This year, while the bigger issues remained unresolved, Walmart agreed to support Visa Checkout for e-commerce purchases.


Among the founders of the Softcard wallet, Verizon was the most openly anti-Google, finding reason to ban the earliest versions of Google Wallet from its handsets. But when the Softcard venture failed, Verizon and its telco partners were willing to set aside differences to support Android Pay and sell Softcard's assets to their rival.


The U.S.'s largest retailers founded the Merchant Customer Exchange with the intention of maintaining control over their customer relationships rather than hand them over to a bank via mobile wallets. Ultimately, however, the MCX merchants chose to trust JPMorgan Chase and its merchant-friendly plan for Chase Pay.

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Fitbit isn't in the payments business, which is why its purchase of Coin's assets is so striking. The deal gives Fitbit the chance to transform its wildly popular fitness trackers into a powerful payments wearable.

Mastercard/Softbank Robotics

This partnership is unusual for the simple oddity of its business model. The companies embedded the digital Masterpass wallet into Softbank's humanoid robot, Pepper, enabling the robot to accept payments while taking orders at Pizza Hut locations in Asia.


Barclays has invested years into the development of wearable payment technologies, including the bPay band that — on some level — competes with the Apple Watch at the point of sale. Thus, it was no surprise that Barclays was reluctant to join the other U.K. banks at Apple Pay's launch in the U.K. last year, but the issuer eventually pledged its support to Apple's wallet.