Regulators want input on a proposed BPAY merger. 

A court enforceable undertaking has been offered by Industry Committee Administration Pty Ltd (ICA), the company representing three Australian payment services providers seeking to merge.

BPAY Group Holding Pty Ltd and its subsidiaries (together, BPAY), eftpos Payments Australia Ltd (eftpos) and New Payments Platform Australia Ltd (NPPA) all provide payment services through their respective payment systems. In March of this year, ICA applied to the ACCC for authorisation for a merger of the three companies to form Australian Payments Plus, or AP+.

However, industry participants are concerned that the proposed merger could result in a reduction in investment and support for eftpos, and a decrease in the availability of least-cost routing (LCR).

“eftpos plays an important role in maintaining competition in the routing of debit card payments, which are an important part of Australia’s payment landscape,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims says.

“We are interested in the views of merchants and other industry participants on how this undertaking would impact competition in payment services.”

The proposed undertaking includes obligations that the new company created for the merger, AP+, will ensure that eftpos will do everything in its control to make LCR available for three years.

It must also ensure the eftpos payments scheme and the eftpos card-based issuing and acceptance infrastructure and services are maintained for three years, and that eftpos and NPPA develop and make available a set of Prescribed Services within agreed timeframes.

The obligations also require it to ensure that BPAY, eftpos and NPPA agree to an industry wide standard supporting payment with QR codes by the end of June 2022.

“The obligations in the undertaking are intended to help ensure that eftpos will develop and improve its debit-based payment services for point of sale, online and in-app payments, and person-to-person payments,” Mr Sims said.

AP+ will also submit a report to the ACCC every six months to demonstrate its compliance.

More details and opportunities to respond are available here.