UniRush is feeding its appetite for the payroll card business by acquiring rapid! PayCard from WEX.

The 12-year-old rapid! PayCard, which is based in Tampa, is one of the country's largest payroll card providers with more than 1,700 corporate relationships.

"The acquisition of rapid! PayCard advances UniRush's long-term strategy to diversify our product offering while extending our scalable business model into high-growth, high-value payments markets," said Jason Miles, chief product officer at UniRush. The companies did not disclose financial terms of the deal. For WEX, which is expanding into new markets, the sale represents a lowered emphasis on payroll cards.

Payroll cards can be controversial.Regulatorsand consumershave criticized payroll cards, saying they charge fees to workers to access their own paychecks. In an earlier interview, UniRush CEORick Savardstated that that payroll cards can increase participation in theunderbanked community.

Rapid! PayCard and its employees will remain in Tampa and the brand will continue as UniRush's flagship paycard brand.  UniRush has a long history in the prepaid market, most notably as provider behind the Rush Card, a prepaid card created by hip hop mogul and UniRush founderRussell Simmons.

"Our plan is to aggressively scale the paycard business," said Chris Ruppel, a rapid! PayCard co-founder, who has joined UniRush as senior vice president and general manager of corporate payments to run the payroll card vertical.

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