Plaid is a financial technology company that acts as an intermediary between your personal bank account and the financial applications you use.
The company, which is headquartered in San Francisco, California, was founded in 2013 by William Hockey and Zachary Perret.
Plaid has built so-called application programming interfaces (APIs) that enable any developer to automatically connect to a user’s bank account.
Previously, when building your app (such as Acorns or Venmo), you had to create custom connections to any bank you wanted to connect your app to. This often required extensive time and money investments.
Banks themselves were also not incentivized nor particularly capable to solve this issue. After all, many of the apps that are now created use Plaid’s data to sometimes directly compete with the traditional banks.
Additionally, regulators have also stepped in to push the open banking movement. In 2018, for example, the European Union instated PSD2 (the Second Payment Services Directive), allowing customers to own their data (instead of banks) and give services such as Plaid permission to access their details.
With Plaid, developers can get access to a variety of data. This entails checking an account’s balance or transaction history, verifying one’s employment or income, conducting global identity verification, and a few more.
However, Plaid hasn’t always handled its user data properly. In August 2021, it was fined $58 million after it obtained and used bank account credentials and financial information without the user’s consent.
A year prior, in January 2020, Visa announced its intention to acquire Plaid for $5.3 billion. However, the acquisition was ultimately blocked following a U.S. government lawsuit that aimed to shutter the deal on antitrust grounds.
Plaid later raised money at a valuation of $13.4 billion. The firm, in total, has received investments worth $735 million. This feat is even more impressive considering that Hockey, one of the firm’s co-founders, left the company back in 2019 to start his own firm.
There are currently over 6,000 FinTech applications built on Plaid. On top of that, the firm has created API connections to over 12,000 financial institutions across the globe.
Plaid’s previous revenue estimates date back to the beginning of 2021 when the company was believed to have generated $170 million in revenue during the fiscal year 2020. Plaid primarily monetizes its service via usage-based fees. That number has, in all likeliness, increased substantially ever since – in large parts due to the growth of the FinTech sector as a whole.
The methodology with which competitors of Plaid are ranked is based on publicly available data. Information such as revenue, the number of users or connected financial institutions, valuation, and anything else in between will be considered.
Plaid currently operates in Europe as well as North America. Consequently, only competitors from these regions will be taken into account.
It has to be noted that this analysis should not be seen as an endorsement of either service. It is merely a summary of the competition that Plaid faces as of today.
So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the top 7 competitors of Plaid.
1. MX Technologies
Headquarters: Lehi, Utah Founder(s): Brandon Dewitt, Ryan Caldwell Year Founded: 2010
MX Technologies offers much of the same features that Plaid does, including the ability to verify a customer’s identity and funds, transaction histories, assets held, AI-driven and personalized financial insights, and many more.
It is currently connected to 13,000+ financial institutions and FinTech startups including Acorns, Citi Bank, and Gemini, among others. As a result, it is able to reach 200 million customers and process over 100 million transactions – per day.
MX is probably the biggest pure-play competitor to Plaid, which is particularly impressive given the firm’s executive shakeups. In 2021, co-founder and CTO Brandon Dewitt died of cancer while Ryan Caldwell stepped down from day-to-day operations back in 2019.
The firm, in spite of those issues, has managed to raise $450 million in funding thus far. MX is currently valued at $1.9 billion.
Headquarters: Stockholm, Sweden Founder(s): Daniel Kjellén, Fredrik Hedberg Year Founded: 2012
In June 2021, just five months after the deal with Plaid was abandoned, Visa announced that it acquired its rival Tink for €1.8 billion. The deal ultimately went through because the European open banking market is substantially more competitive – as seen by the number of firms on this list, for example.
Tink, under its new ownership, continues to operate as a separate entity. The takeover has enabled Tink to expand into a variety of new markets, introduce new products, and close partnerships with leading European FinTech firms such as Revolut.
Over 3,400 banks and financial institutions are currently integrated with Tink. It is able to reach 250+ million bank customers and is active in close to 20 markets in Europe. A total of 10 billion transactions are, furthermore, processed on the platform per year.
Previously, Tink had raised $308.4 million in venture funding to support that growth. With that amount of capital and Visa as its backer, it is certainly poised to make a significant dent in the European open banking market.
Headquarters: London, United Kingdom Founder(s): Francesco Simoneschi, Luca Martinetti Year Founded: 2016
TrueLayer is mostly focused on use cases in crypto, iGaming, FinTech, as well as e-commerce industries. It offers many of the same products as Plaid such as data aggregation, user authentication, as well as the ability to manage transfers.
TrueLayer has also been introducing unique features to separate itself from the other competitors, which are mostly based in Europe. In April 2022, for example, it became the first open banking provider to support various recurring payment options through one API.
The firm works together with some of Europe’s leading startups including Cazoo, Freetrade, Trading 212, and many others. Co-founder and CEO Simoneschi also possesses extensive experience in the startup world, having previously started and excited companies. Unfortunately, the firm does not disclose how many banks and other financial institutions it works together with.
Currently, TrueLayer is in extensive expansion mode, having opened five offices across Europe already. Those offices and market expansions are funded by the $271.5 million it has raised thus far. Right now, TrueLayer is valued at $1 billion.
Headquarters: San Francisco, California Founder(s): John Collison, Patrick Collison Year Founded: 2010
Stripe, with a $95 billion (!) valuation and $2.2 billion in raised funding, is by far the most valuable company on this list. It made a name for itself by powering payments for online merchants and making it as easy as possible to accept them.
The firm has used that popularity to expand into a variety of other segments including spend management, company incorporation, card issuance, treasury services, and, since May 2022, financial connections.
The product enables developers to connect to a customer’s bank account and conduct the same types of verifications Plaid offers. Unfortunately, that launch didn’t go as smoothly as the Collison brothers would’ve hoped for.
Plaid CEO Zachary Perret publicly called out Stripe after the launch, claiming that it used a previous partnership with his company to obtain valuable information, which ultimately informed the Financial Connections launch.
Perret and the Collisons eventually came to terms with each other, though. It has to, furthermore, be noted that Stripe has invested in other Plaid competitors such as TrueLayer. Naturally, this already granted Stripe valuable access to industry-specific performance data.
Stripe, due to those PR issues, remains fairly secretive about the performance of its open banking product. Right now, Stripe only says that one can connect to 5,000 financial institutions, which is equal to around 90 percent of all U.S. bank accounts.
Given that Stripe is highly profitable and can easily tap the financial markets for more funding, it can be assumed that it’s only a matter of time until it becomes one of or even the biggest firm in the space.
Headquarters: Stockholm, Sweden Founder(s): Alexandre Gonthier, Carl Wilsson, Joel Jacobsson, Lukas Gratte Year Founded: 2008
Trustly is the OG on this list, having provided payment solutions for online merchants since 2008. The service initially launched as Glue Finance and offered a proprietary payment transfer platform to automatically process instant B2C bank deposits and withdrawals.
Its focus continues to be centered around accepting payments and managing funds for companies in e-commerce, gaming, financial services, and travel. In March 2018, Trustly was acquired by private equity group Nordic Capital for an alleged €700 million.
The firm has been able to significantly expand its foothold ever since. Today, it is connected to 6,300 banks, works together with 8,100 merchants, and reaches over 525 million consumers across the world.
On top of that, the firm processes over $21 billion in transaction volumes on an annual basis. Its most popular markets naturally include the Nordics as well as Germany and the Netherlands.
Headquarters: London, United Kingdom Founder(s): Stefano Vaccino Year Founded: 2017
Yapily works together with close to 2,000 institutions that are integrated with its open banking infrastructure. Its core use cases include accounting, crypto, lending, digital banking, wealth management, as well as payments.
The firm is currently present in 18 countries across the European continent. One way with which Yapily separates itself from the pack is its focus on infrastructure. To that extent, you won’t see a Yapily logo in any of the apps it partners with nor does the firm provide any front-end interface, thus forcing developers to code up their own solutions. This ultimately gives them more control over the implementation.
Additionally, Yapily does not scrape websites and, therefore, relies on official API integrations with banks. As a result, the data that developers receive is substantially more accurate.
Portions of the $69.4 million Yapily has raised in funding thus far have also been used to snap up competitors. In May 2022, for example, it acquired German competitor finAPI for an undisclosed amount. Valuation figures are currently not being disclosed by the firm.
Headquarters: Berlin, Germany Founder(s): Andreas Bittner, Marko Wenthin Year Founded: 2016
Solarisbank, as its name suggests, is a little different from other companies on this list. It provides a Banking-as-a-Service platform. This consequently means that Solarisbank provides developers with the necessary banking license and APIs upon which they can build.
The firm, apart from the banking license (which it obtained back in early 2016), also provides developers with physical cards, consumer and SME loans, PSD2 compliant payment services, KYC verification services, and many more.
All of those products can be accessed by connecting to the firm’s APIs. Many of today’s FinTech startups, such as Nuri or Tomorrow, are built on those very same API connections.
Solarisbank is currently valued at $1.65 billion after having raised over $400 million in venture funding. Over 60 partners have built products on Solarisbank APIs thus far.