Competition concerns in the payment systems market

Competition concerns in the payment systems market

By Jonathan Lawrence

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has found that Mastercard’s acquisition of VocaLink gives rise to UK competition/anti-trust concerns. Mastercard UK Holdco Ltd, a subsidiary of Mastercard International Incorporated (Mastercard), is buying VocaLink Holdings Ltd (VocaLink).

Mastercard already owns and operates credit and debit card schemes Mastercard, Maestro and Cirrus, and has also bid to supply infrastructure services to UK interbank payment systems. VocaLink is a supplier of payment infrastructure services to three major UK interbank payment systems:

  • Bacs, the automated clearing system allowing credit and debit payments between bank accounts;
  • the Faster Payments Service (FPS), which enables near ‘real-time’ payments between bank accounts within the UK; and
  • the LINK ATM network.

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