ACCC approves payments merger, says it will improve eftpos

The major banks have welcomed the competition regulator’s approval of the merger between eftpos, BPay and the real-time payment system known as the NPP, after court-enforceable undertakings were agreed to preserve bank investment in eftpos for at least four years to help it compete with the global card schemes.

The undertaking was strengthened in the past few weeks, increasing the commitments on eftpos from three to four years and introducing an obligation for banks to “promote” least cost routing. This gives merchants the choice to send a payment to eftpos or competing debit networks run by Visa and Mastercard, which can be more expensive.

The merged payments schemes will now be known as Australian Payments Plus (AP+) which is being chaired by Catherine Brenner, the former chairman of AMP. She said consolidation of the three boards should be complete by the end of the year.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sim said he is comfortable the amalgamation “will not have a significant adverse impact on eftpos’ services or the availability of least cost routing”.

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