Irish banks’ money transfer scheme faces further competition scrutiny

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The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has decided to conduct a full phase two investigation into a plan by major Irish banks to set up a mobile money transfer system, called Synch Payments, to tackle Revolut and N26.

“Following a thorough preliminary investigation, the CCPC has determined that a full investigation is needed to establish whether the proposed transaction could result in a substantial decrease in competition in the state,” the authority said on Wednesday. at the end of the afternoon.

The CCPC received a number of third-party submissions during the Phase 1 investigation and invited others who would like to comment to do so before the close of business on January 5.

The shareholders of the company behind the plan are AIB, Bank of Ireland, Permanent TSB and KBC Bank Ireland, although the latter is in the process of exiting the market and aims to sell most of its loans to Bank of Ireland.

Project Synch hit a stumbling block in January after the CCPC rejected the banks’ request to form a joint venture, saying it was unable to determine from the initial deposit whether the proposed transaction was a merger or acquisition within the meaning of Irish competition laws. .

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The watchdog said in early April it had been re-notified by lenders of the plan. It then responded to requests for additional information.

The joint venture aims to provide a payments application that will allow users to send and make payments in real time, an application that will face competing banks such as Revolut, Zumo and Germany’s N26. The initial phase should focus on consumer-to-consumer payments.

Traditional banks fear that as these newer platforms continue to gain market share in payments, they will eventually have a customer base ready for future loans and other financial products.

Irish banks have selected Italian fintech giant Sia to supply the technology for the planned system.


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