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French anti-trust watchdog shines a light on fintech

French anti-trust watchdog shines a light on fintech

France's competition authority has launched a public consultation into the fintech sector, with a focus on payment services.

The payments sector is being upended by a combination of new technologies, such as mobile phones and blockchain, and new players, both fintech startups and big tech outfits.

The Autorité de la concurrence is seeking industry feedback to establish whether these new providers and services, and how they interact with old-fashioned bank efforts, bring up competition issues.

The watchdog notes that technological advances have impacted both the supply side, where the likes of the cloud and cryptocurrency have opened up possibilities, and the demand side, with consumers wanting payments that match their digital lifestyles.

Big tech players such as Apple, Google and Facebook are entering the payments fray, as well as small startups. This poses a dilemma for banks, who are responding in different ways: by making acquisitions, signing cooperation agreements and setting up their own efforts.

The Autorité de la concurrence is asking for feedback in three areas: how respondents understand the changes taking place in the sector; what they see as the competitive advantages held by different players; and what the business practices they expect to see implemented by the different firms.

Respondents have until 19 June to give their feedback.

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