Goldman Sachs, eager to expand its card business, courted credit card technology companies

Goldman Sachs Group inc

GS 1.06%

has expressed an interest in acquiring a payments technology company to further expand its credit card capabilities, according to people familiar with the matter.

According to people familiar with the matter, Goldman executives had been talking about acquiring Deserve, a fintech credit card platform with which the bank already has close ties. Executives also explored another fintech credit card platform called Cardless and a payments company called CoreCard corp

CCRD 2.09%

said the people.

Contacts by Goldman executives with Deserve executives began last year, people familiar with the matter said. The most recent overture came out last month, they said.

There are currently no official talks between Goldman and the companies, it said.

A Goldman spokesman said the bank has already built technology platforms that enable it to help card partners grow their businesses and serve their customers. “We have the ability to scale these businesses with our existing technology and are not currently looking for acquisitions in this space,” the spokesman said.

Goldman, long the epitome of high finance, has sought to round out its investment banking and trading units in part by expanding its cards business. But progress was slow.

Goldman has previously offered to acquire JetBlue Airways’ credit card programs corp

and Macy’s inc

but lost, the Wall Street Journal previously reported. The bank successfully bid to acquire General Motors co

Credit card program in 2020, but technological glitches delayed rollout, the Journal previously reported. Goldman launched a credit card with Apple inc

in 2019, and Apple is encouraging cardholders to use the card with Apple Pay.

Goldman recently announced a major restructuring that included moving its card partnerships with Apple and GM into a new entity called Platform Solutions.

Expanding its payments technology could help Goldman better compete with larger banks when it comes to credit card partnerships, people familiar with the matter said. Executives wanted to be better prepared for a number of tech companies that they say are looking to quickly roll out credit card programs embedded in their apps, the people said.

According to a recent regulatory filing by CoreCard, Goldman is CoreCard’s largest customer based on consolidated revenue.

Currently earn credit cards for private student loan lender Sallie Mae,

Financial services startup GloriFi, BlockFi’s crypto rewards credit card, and others. Deserve’s platform may allow cardholders to view and dispute their transactions, make payments, redeem rewards, and change their contact information on partner apps, among other things. However, the services appear to consumers as coming from the partner company rather than earning.

Goldman became an investor in Deserve in 2019, and a Goldman executive serves on Deserve’s board of directors. The bank recently facilitated a line of credit for Deserve.

Payments company Marqeta has also been courting Deserve, which could give it a better chance of winning bids for credit card co-branding programs, according to people familiar with the matter.

Write to AnnaMaria Andriotis at [email protected]

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