eftpos, BPAY and NPP Australia (NPPA) were given permission to merge after the country’s competition watchdog accepted their offer to maintain the eftpos payment system until at least 2025.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on Thursday cleared the proposed merger between the three payment infrastructure providers after agreeing to binding commitments offered by the courts last month.
The commitments were intended to address industry fears that the merger would weaken payment competition, with the parties proposing to maintain current service levels, including Least Cost Routing (LCR) and the eftpos payment system, during at least four years.
“We do not consider that the merger of these parties will significantly reduce completion in any payments market, after taking into account the court’s binding commitment,” said ACCC President Rod Sims.
Sims said that after reviewing potential competition concerns, including the impact of the merger on eftpos services and low cost routing, the ACCC found that the services offered by eftpos, BPAY and the nuclear power plant were not in close competition, at least at a high level. .
“The ACCC recognizes that rapid change is happening in the industry, but in the end, it was confident that with the company, the merger will not have a significant negative impact on eftpos services. the availability of LCR, ”he said.
Sims added that the Reserve Bank of Australia “will also continue to take measures to preserve the availability of the LCR,” which, combined with the commitments made in the pledge, “will minimize the risk that eftpos will be reduced or that the LCR. becomes less available “.
The commitment accepted by the ACCC commits the merged entity, to be called Australian Payments Plus, to ensure that eftpos maintains the LCR and eftpos payment system and the issuance and acceptance infrastructure by card for four years.
Eftpos and the NPPA are also required to develop a set of “prescribed services” within the agreed timeframe, and the three organizations are to create an industry standard for payments via QR codes by the end of June 2022.
“We accepted the commitment because we believe it will help ensure that eftpos develops and improves its debit payment services for point-of-sale, online and in-app payments,” said Sims.
It will also allow the three payment systems to “coordinate investment proposals and avoid inefficient redundant spending,” which will increase the likelihood that large banks and other shareholders will invest in domestic payment services.
“This is likely to be of benefit to the public, putting them in a better position to implement payment service initiatives more quickly and successfully, to the benefit of consumers and businesses,” he said. .
Sims added that the merger “would likely weaken competition in areas where vendors were looking to expand,” but that “would likely not result in a substantial decrease in competition as strong competitors will remain, including Visa and Mastercard.”