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Mastercard admits its involvement in breaching competition law

Friday 2 April 2021 12:59 CET | News

Mastercard and four other companies have been accused of running a cartel to reduce competition in the market for pre-paid cards.

Allpay, PFS, Sulion, and APS ran schemes to distribute welfare payments for local authorities. The Payment Systems Regulator claims that, for six years, the companies agreed not to poach clients or compete for bids. Mastercard and two others have admitted involvement and agreed to pay fines of up to EUR 37.6 million.

The schemes were designed to help local authorities provide pre-paid cards for vulnerable people such as asylum seekers, the homeless, and victims of domestic violence. Mastercard ran the payment systems and funded a forum where the card providers met potential clients – and each other.

It alleges that from 2012 to 2018 the card providers agreed not to try and poach each other's clients or compete when bidding for local authority contracts. APS and PFS also had an additional arrangement from 2014 to 2016. Reduced competition meant local authorities could have missed out on better services and lower prices.

The findings are still provisional but Mastercard, Allpay, and PFS have all admitted involvement and agreed to pay fines if in due course the regulator decides the law was broken.


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Keywords: Mastercard, prepaid card, regulation
Categories: Payments & Commerce | Payments General
Countries: United Kingdom
This article is part of category

Payments & Commerce