The ACCC has approved Eftpos, BPAY and the NPP’s efforts to join together under a unified parent company in order to better collaborate and coordinate their company’s actions, after the commission decided the merger wouldn’t substantially lessen competition in the payments market.
The green light was only given after the businesses proposed a court-enforceable undertaking which will hold the new parent company, Australian Payments Plus (formerly known as NewCo), to continue investing in and maintaining eftpos, accepting a QR-code based payment standard by the end of June 2022, and will do “everything in its control” to make least cost routing available for three years.
ACCC chair Rod Sims said, in general, the three businesses do not compete with one another and that the amalgamation wouldn’t have a significant impact on the broader industry.
“We considered a number of potential impacts on competition, including concerns raised by industry participants about the impact of the amalgamation on Eftpos’ services and least cost routing,” Sims said.
“The Reserve Bank of Australia, the regulator of payment systems in Australia, will also continue to take action to safeguard the availability of least cost routing.” “Together with the commitments made in the undertaking, the oversight of the Reserve Bank will minimise the risk that eftpos is diminished or that least cost routing will become less available.”
Australian Payments Plus independent non-executive chair Catherine Brenner said the decision marks the day the business’ can start working together to transition to a single Board structure, and will include the businesses moving into the same building and setting up ways of sharing information.
Sims also said one of the key reasons the ACCC approved the merger was that it will help ensure that Eftpos, which is an important alternative to the Mastercard and Visa networks, continues to be developed and improved.
The merger will enable the three payment schemes to coordinate investment proposals and avoid inefficient duplicative spending and, according to Sims, could increase the likelihood of major banks investing in domestic payment services.
“This is likely to result in public benefit, by placing them in a better position to deliver payment service initiatives more quickly and successfully, for the benefit of consumers and businesses,” Sims said.