Visa appears to have won the bidding war for cross-border payments firm Earthport after rival Mastercard dropped its bid and instead struck a deal to buy another money transfer network, Transfast, for an undisclosed amount.

Visa made a surprise £198 million bid for Earthport over the festive season, an offer which was recommended by the company’s Board and put to shareholders. But Mastercard tried to gazump its rival with its own £233 million bid, forcing Visa to return with an improved £247 million package.

Now, Mastercard says that it has let its Earthport offer lapse “in order to focus on the integration and expansion of Transfast”.

Transfast is a cross-border payments network provider that covers over 125 countries across Asia, Europe, Africa, Americas and Australia. The firm boasts direct integrations with more than 300 banks and other financial institutions to enable P2P, B2P and B2B payments services via APIs, SFTP, web and mobile product applications.

Mastercard says that the firm will increase its worldwide connectivity in the account-to-account space, boosting compliance capabilities and offering more robust foreign exchange tools.

Michael Miebach, chief product officer, Mastercard, says: “We believe Transfast gives us the strongest platform to immediately enhance our cross-border capabilities and further deliver on our strategy.”

The acquisition is slated to close in the second half of 2019, subject to closing conditions.