Commission drops anti-trust probe into European Payments Council

Commission drops anti-trust probe into European Payments Council

The European Commission has dropped an anti-trust probe into the activities of the bank-backed standards-setting body the European Payments Council.

The EC opened its investigation in September 2011 following complaints that the EPC was abusing its position to craft rules that would block new, non-bank, players from entering the online payments market.

In a speech in France, EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said that the probe was initiated to determine whether the banks co-operated together to limit competition from non-bank players in setting conditions that only banks could fill.

"Meanwhile, the EPC decided to abandon its work in this area," Almunia told the conference. "This decision will allow us to close our investigation because alternative systems, non-bank could then remain in or enter the market."

Instead, the Commission has switched its focus to "look at the barriers to the completion of the internal market for payments by credit card, Internet and mobile telephony".

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