Visa eyes $200 million investment in African payments group Interswitch

Visa is set to plough US$200 million into African card payments group Interswitch, in a deal that will see the Nigeria-based company become the latest fintech ‘unicorn’ on the African continent.

US-based card payments giant Visa will receive a 20% stake in Interswitch in return for the investment, according to sources heard by Sky News. Visa will become a cornerstone investor ahead of Interswitch’s IPO in the first half of next year.

Interswitch is one of the largest Africa-focused electronic payments and infrastructure companies, with point-of-sale terminals, online consumer payment platforms and its own card (Verve) which has more than 19 million currently in use on the continent.

Unlike many fintech groups, Interswitch is both profitable and generates significant cash flow across the 24 countries it serves including its home market Nigeria, which has a population of nearly 200 million people.

Visa’s reported investment mirrors that of global rival Mastercard, who poured $300 million into Dubai-based fintech firm Network International, ahead of its London IPO earlier this year.