The European Payments Council (EPC) has commented on the antitrust investigation launched by the European Commission (EC) against the EPC’s work on single euro payments area (SEPA) online payments.
The EC recently opened an antitrust investigation into whether the EPC is blocking new, non-banking players from entering the online payments market and providing their own services. According to the EC, this could lead to increased online payment costs for web merchants and potentially force them to raise prices to the detriment of consumers.
Gerard Hartsink, chair, EPC, said: “The EPC is continuously providing full and transparent information available to all stakeholders, including the EC, on the EPC’s activities in the area of online payments. To-date, related work remains in progress and no final documentation has been published. The EPC therefore does not support the allegations by the Directorate General Competition that the EPC’s work in this area could potentially discriminate against new market entrants or other service providers.”
“The EPC aims to contribute to creating an efficient and secure SEPA payments landscape in line with market needs. Several EU authorities requested that the banking industry produce – as a matter of urgency – a model which allows SEPA-wide online payments. The EPC’s work in this area is therefore fully aligned with the payment innovation agenda promoted by these authorities. Going forward, the EPC requires that the EC aligns its views on the merit of market integration and innovation on the one hand and competition on the other. Inconsistencies between the EC’s objectives continue to hamper the SEPA progress,” Hartsink added.
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