EU launches antitrust probe into e-payment market
EU antitrust regulators are investigating whether a group of banks, including Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Spain's BBVA, are blocking new players from entering the European online payments market.
The European Commission has stated that the exclusion of new players and payment providers not controlled by a bank could result in higher prices for web merchants and consumers. According to the EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, EC needs to ensure that the standardization process does not unnecessarily restrict opportunities for non-participants.
The case is the third EU competition probe in 2011 into the banking industry. It adds to investigations concerning lenders’ possible collusion over credit default swaps and the Libor lending rate.
The European Payments Council (EPC) is the coordination and decision-making body of the European payments industry. The EPC develops the payment schemes and frameworks necessary to realise SEPA, a European Union (EU) integration initiative in the area of payments. The EPC consists of 74 members representing banks, banking communities and payment institutions.