Wirecard Sells Digital Payment Tech to Santander

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  • Wirecard’s digital tech arm is being sold to Santander following the collapse of the German fintech company
  • Santander’s Getnet franchise, which aims to compete with digital payment platforms, will buy the IP from the collapsed firm
  • Railsbank bought Wirecard’s UK wing in August, including its crypto issuing function

Santander has bought up a number of highly specialized technological assets from collapsed German firm Wirecard in its bid to disrupt digital payments platforms. Santander hopes to have the deal completed by the end of the year, with the technology subsumed into its digital payments franchise, Getnet. The move comes almost three months after Wirecard’s UK subsidiary associated assets, including crypto debit card operations, were bought by UK firm Railsbank.

Wirecard Carve Up Gathers Pace

Wirecard dramatically collapsed in June after a $2 billion black hole was found in their accounts, leaving many cryptocurrency debit card users in limbo for a short time. Wirecard was the issuer of cryptocurrency debit cards to some of the biggest providers in the space such as Wirex, Crypto.com, and TenX, whose operations were all interrupted to some degree when Wirecard collapsed. All were given the green light to continue shortly after, and operations seem to have returned to normal while the Wirecard empire was preparing to be carved up.

This carving up has been going on for the last few months, with Railsbank buying out Wirecard’s UK subsidiary in August, meaning they will take control of card issuance for crypto debit card providers.

Santander has arguably gone one better and acquired several of Wirecard’s “highly specialised technological assets from the merchant payments business” through its Getnet franchise. Getnet is described as “a new autonomous business to compete with global digital payments platforms”, potentially putting it at odds with cryptocurrency merchants.

Crypto Card Operators Switching Sides

Railsbank might find a vastly reduced customer base when it takes control of Wirecard’s UK operation, particularly on the crypto side. At the time of the Wirecard collapse, Wirex said that only “a very small number” of cardholders had Wirecard-issued cards following their switch to Contis in 2018, while Crypto.com said it was “working on transferring the card program to a new provider” at the time of the collapse.