PSR has fined five companies – Mastercard, Allpay, Advanced Payment Solutions, Prepaid Financial Services and Sulion – a total of £33 million after finding them to be in breach of Chapter 1 of the Competition Act 1998.
The Chapter 1 prohibition covers anti-competitive agreements, concerted practices, and decisions by associations of undertakings which have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition within the UK or a part of it and which may affect trade within the UK or a part of it.
The infringement concerned two cartels which developed when the five parties agreed not to compete or poach each other’s clients.
PSR’s investigation first opened in October 2017 and in February 2021 the parties decided to settle having admitted that they took part in the alleged anticompetitive arrangement(s). By settling, the parties admitted they breached competition law, agreed to pay a maximum penalty and agreed to a streamlined administrative procedure for the remainder of the investigation.