Railsbank, the global open banking platform, is to buy Wirecard’s UK subsidiary –Wirecard Card Solutions – with customer accounts set to be migrated by November this year. It is two months since the discredited German payments company filed for insolvency.
The proposed asset sale of Wirecard Card Solutions (WCS) to Railsbank, as part of a solvent wind-down of the business, has been hailed as ‘great news for the UK fintech scene’.
Under the deal, the UK arm of the bust German fintech will sell its card technology and associated assets, and transfer client relationships and certain employees to Railsbank.
According to WCS, customer migration will take place between now and November 2020. Both before and after the migration, Wirecard Card Solutions’ cardholders will be able to continue to operate their cards and
access their funds as usual.
If a definitive agreement with Railsbank, which runs more than 50 card programmes in the UK and EU, is not reached, WCS says it would expect to ‘continue with the wind down plan in any event’. Parent company Wirecard AG group will continue to hold ownership of Wirecard Card Solution’s shares.
“In planning the future of the company, one of our key priorities continues to be that our valued customers get the best possible outcome,” says Tom Jennings, managing director at Wirecard Card Solutions. “We believe that our solvent wind-down proposal, including the proposed sale of assets to Railsbank, will achieve that that key priority. Our hope is that our programme managers will support our proposal and we can move forward in a positive way for all parties. I would like to thank our customers for their ongoing support as well as Mastercard and Visa for their help in making this transition as seamless as possible.”
Nigel Verdon, CEO and co-founder of, Railsbank, said: “We are delighted to have come to this agreement with Wirecard Card Solutions and thank its team for working positively with us during the process. At the end of the day, customer and team needs are our priority. The Railsbank team will conscientiously work on ensuring customers, programme managers and team members have a seamless transfer to their new home.”
The industry reaction…
The asset sale has been largely welcomed by industry experts. The questions still to be answered are the effects on the Wirecard customers, individual cardholders and the UK employees.
Boris Dyakonov, co-founder of mobile business account ANNA, comments: “It is really good news for the industry as a whole if Wirecard UK was to be acquired by such a reputable player as Railsbank. It would obviously be hard for Wirecard to continue operating under the current brand with all the investigations going on in Europe and other countries. Yet in the UK, Wirecard was totally independent and supervised by the Financial Conduct Authority so it is really good news.”
Gene Gerrienne, partner UK and international at startup rating agency Early Metrics, says: “The fact that Railsbank has put itself forward to take over WCS is great news for the UK fintech scene, since Wirecard represented an important enabler for many heavyweights, including Revolut. I believe that RailsBank is a strong candidate as the firm is backed by Visa and its CEO has built a solid track record, both in his current role and at the helm of Currencycloud.”
“The move could potentially restore some confidence and stability in a market that has faced plenty of headwinds lately. Aside from Wirecard’s debacle, in recent months we’ve seen N26 and Holvi pull out of the UK market, while Monzo took a 40 per cent hit on its market value and saw its losses double. So, the UK fintech scene needs a win and I’m hoping this will turn out to be a positive twist in a turbulent story.”
Fintech investor and CEO of Polymath Consulting David Parker says: “It is a pity that Wirecard Card Solutions could not be sold as a going concern, but obviously time was against any buyer being able to perform the relevant due diligence required for a full share sale. It is good to see a fast growing industry player like Railsbank able to conclude an agreement to support both customers and potentially employees going forward.”
Global Processing Services (GPS) has been a processing partner to WDCS since 2013 – launching hundreds of consumer, corporate and B2B propositions with Mastercard and Visa to provide access to inclusive and innovative financial services. Both companies have been at the epicentre of Europe’s fintech revolution, with GPS being the fintech powerhouse for the majority of its sponsored programmes.
Commenting on the last two months, Joanne Dewar, CEO of GPS said: “We have been working hard with all of our customers, Wirecard Card Solutions, Mastercard, Visa and the FCA to facilitate a positive outcome for all involved, with laser focus on maintaining the high quality of service our customers and their cardholders have enjoyed over many years.
“The good news for our customers and their cardholders is that transitioning a live programme from one issuing bank to another is a process that can be completed without disruption or loss of functionality, as we recently proved with the migration of Curve and Soldo, where we continue to enjoy the partnership. Railsbank is already a fully integrated and live partner of GPS in Europe and Asia Pacific and we welcome the opportunity to extend this relationship.
As one chapter with WDCS closes, we look forward to the next chapter of continuing to provide digital experiences that improve lives.”
Following an interview with Nigel Verdon, we are looking forward to answering the next major questions of the impact this asset sale will have on Wirecard UK customers, individual cardholders and the employees based in Newcastle. Stay tuned to read the full interview…