PayPal to Acquire TIO Networks, Citing Shared Interest in “Democratizing Money”

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Leading payment facilitator PayPal announced on Tuesday that it plans to acquire TIO Networks. TIO is a Vancouver-based bill payment processor.

The companies cite their interest in providing services to the underserved as a key philosophical fit. And with this acquisition, PayPal gains an expanded offering for its consumer base.

“PayPal clearly wants to build the bill payment area out, and TIO is a great way to do that,” said Todd Ablowitz, president of Double Diamond Group and publisher of PaymentFacilitator.com.

TIO processes payments for more than 10,000 North American billers, including cable, telecom and utilities, and serves 14 million consumer accounts.

According to its web site, TIO offers payments through web and mobile channels, but it also offers walk-in bill payments at the point of sale and self-serve payments via kiosks. These in-person options enable consumers to choose a convenient location and a payment method that works best for them.

Enabling convenience that meets consumers’ needs is what makes TIO stand out, and is emblematic of the payment facilitator approach to serving consumers, according to Ablowitz.

“Underserved communities are being served because of PFs,” he said. “That nexus between financial, technology and payments makes these things possible. They’re serving needs that just haven’t been served quite the same way by banks, check cashers, prepaid and the like.”

PayPal says that it will operate TIO as a service within PayPal, offering the bill payment capability within its existing online and mobile presence.

“[Helping people pay their bills more conveniently] is fully aligned with our mission to expand access and participation in the financial system for those who have been underserved. We believe that adding TIO to PayPal will accelerate the availability of a service that will improve the financial health of millions of people,” PayPal CEO Dan Schulman said in a blog post.

“We founded TIO to make speed and access part of the bill payment experience for the underserved, and we believe that we have created affordable products to serve the needs of all customers. Our mission fits perfectly with PayPal’s vision to democratize money. As part of the PayPal team, we believe we will accelerate our growth through expanded distribution and continue increasing access to more billers and services,” said Hamed Shahbazi, chairman and CEO of TIO, said in a press release.

PayPal will pay approximately $233 million USD for TIO. The acquisition is expected to close in the second half of 2017.

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