Walmart Enters Fintech Space With New Ribbit Partnership

The retailer will be a majority owner in the as-yet unnamed fintech firm.

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Need to Know

  • Walmart and Ribbit will create a new fintech startup, which will be majority-owned by Walmart.
  • The new fintech will be in addition to financial services currently offered by Walmart, which include a credit card, a reloadable debit card, cash transfers, and check cashing.
  • Walmart will bring its retail knowledge to the new venture, while Ribbit will provide extensive fintech expertise.
  • The new fintech venture is just one of a number of new initiatives Walmart has launched outside the retail realm in the last year, including expanding healthcare options.

Analysis

Walmart is expanding its financial services, announcing plans to launch a new fintech startup with Ribbit, the venture capital firm.

The new, as-yet-unnamed fintech will combine Walmart’s retail knowledge and scale with Ribbit’s fintech know-how. Walmart will have a majority ownership stake in the fintech, which will be offered in addition to Walmart’s existing financial services, which include the Walmart Credit Card, Walmart Money Card (a reloadable debit card), check cashing, money transfers, and installment financing, among other services.

“For years, millions of customers have put their trust in Walmart to not only save them money when they shop with us but help them manage their financial needs. And they’ve made it clear they want more from us in the financial services arena,” John Furner, president and CEO of Walmart US, said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to work with Ribbit Capital in a new venture to help us deliver innovative and needed options to our customers and associates — with speed and at scale.”

Ribbit, an investment firm founded in 2012, may not have the household name recognition of Walmart, but it is a good strategic partner for the big-box store as it enters the fintech arena. Its portfolio currently includes Robinhood, a mobile investment platform, credit score service Credit Karma, and buy now, pay later platform Affirm, which is also an existing Walmart partner.

Meyer Malka, managing partner for Ribbit Capital, said in a statement that the combination of Ribbit’s “deep knowledge of technology-driven financial businesses and our ability to move with speed” with Walmart’s massive consumer reach will result in “financial offerings that are second to none.”

While Walmart currently offers a small suite of financial products, it has not always been successful in its ambitions to expand into banking. In 2007, Walmart withdrew its application to launch an industrial loan company, after outcry at the time that took aim at the company’s alleged future ambitions to offer mortgages and consumer loans.

Walmart has launched a number of new consumer services in recent months, which would pair well with an expanded roster of financial offerings in positioning the retailer as a one-stop-shop for customers. These include Walmart+, its subscription program, which positions the retailer in a more strongly competitive position against Amazon and its subscriber service, Prime. Walmart has also recently expanded its healthcare offerings, purchasing digital technology from CareZone in June in a move that will allow Walmart customers to better manage their prescriptions online while remaining within the retailer’s digital ecosystem.

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