Synchronize payments against the Ireland CCPC probe


The Irish competition watchdog announced on Wednesday (December 8th) the launch of a full investigation into Synch Payments, a joint venture of AIB, Bank of Ireland, Permanent TSB and KBC.

Synch Payments was developed as a digital payment system to compete with Revolut, N26 and similar competitors.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is embarking on a full investigation to determine whether synchronized payments reduce competition in Ireland, building on a Phase 1 investigation by the CCPC earlier this year.

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This is the latest stumbling block for the Big Four Irish banks to launch the Synch payment app. In January, banks informed the CCPC of their intention to create a digital payment service.

A preliminary assessment by the CCPC determined that it found the notification invalid because it could not assess the extent of the banks’ strategies.

“Following a thorough preliminary investigation, the CCPC has determined that a full investigation is necessary to establish whether the proposed transaction could result in a substantial decrease in competition in the state,” said the announcement of the CCPC.

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The CCPC said third-party submissions regarding the company will be accepted until Jan. 5. Submissions from other market participants, including Revolut, Stripe and N26, were solicited by the CCPC.

Synch’s plans have previously faced opposition from the Electronic Money Association, a lobby group that represents Stripe, PayPal, Facebook, and Revolut, among others.

Last month, The Irish Times reported that Synch Payments had secured an additional 5 million euros to fund the business, in addition to an initial capital increase of 5.9 million euros announced earlier in the year.



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