The financial sector is one of the fundamental pillars of society. According to general industry estimates, financials make up as much as a quarter of the global economy.
Modern card issuer Marqeta (MQ 2.11%) is just a little speck in the financial universe, but it might not always be that way -- the company's innovative and flexible technology makes it a potential titan in the making. Here's why it could be one of the outstanding stock ideas of this bear market.
A massive opportunity for the decades ahead
Not only are banking and financials one of the world's largest industries, but they're one of the oldest, too, going back centuries. The financial sector was built without technology, long before computers came about.
But technology has a way of seeping into old, stagnant industries, and financial technology, or fintech, is one of the hottest sectors on Wall Street. Fintech is bringing new ways for consumers to pay, transfer, borrow, and manage money.
Allied Market Research estimates that the global fintech market is worth approximately $110 billion, but could grow by an average of 20% annually to $698 billion by 2030.
Think about how big the global financial sector is. Estimates value the global financial industry at $22.5 trillion, with expectations for high-single-digit growth over the coming years. This is a big-picture trend likely to play out for decades.
How Marqeta can help you benefit
It can be hard to decide how best to invest in a vast opportunity, but this is where Marqeta can benefit investors. A modern card issuer provides software tools to help fintech companies connect to the existing financial system.
Traditional payments work like a cash advance: You swipe a credit card, which will approve you for the transaction amount, and your billing statement will only tell you that you spent $X at Y merchant. But Marqeta lets companies build custom payment technologies that can be much more flexible.
For example, grocery delivery company Instacart uses Marqeta to control when, where, and how much its shoppers are authorized to spend to ensure they're only buying what they're supposed to for customer orders. This type of control wouldn't be possible with a traditional payment card.
These sophisticated technologies steadily infiltrate everyday life, from buying groceries through Instacart, ordering food through DoorDash, "Buy Now, Pay Later" with Affirm, and peer-to-peer payments with Block.
Fortunately, you don't have to try to pick and choose which companies will become the tech titans of the future, because Marqeta powers many of these companies.
Shareholders can ride the growth of Marqeta's customers because the company charges a percentage of each transaction it powers, meaning it wins when its customers do. The company's revenue grew 54% year over year in 2022 Q1, and totals $575 million over the past four quarters; Marqeta's story is far from over.
Did I mention that Marqeta stock's a bargain?
Still, Marqeta will need to prove itself over time, even if the business model seems compelling. But getting a deal on shares could help sweeten the pot.
Marqeta went public last summer, a couple of months before the market peaked and began its downward slide. Marqeta has fallen roughly 75% from its high, falling to a price-to-sales ratio (P/S) of just over 8.
To underline how cheap Marqeta has become, the company's sitting on $1.6 billion in cash while the stock's market value is $4.5 billion. That means a whopping 35% of Marqeta's value is now cash. For comparison, just 2.5% of Tesla's market value is cash today.
Marqeta isn't profitable yet, and free cash flow is negative. However, with just $10 million in cash burned over the past year, Marqeta is doing fine with the $1.6 billion it has for immediate needs. Marqeta could be poised to deliver strong long-term investment returns if its customers continue thriving.