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UK competition watchdog clears Mastercard’s acquisition of VocaLink

Published 11 April 2017

Mastercard has received an approval from the UK competition watchdog to acquire payments technology firm VocaLink Holdings.

The approval comes after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said that it was satisfied with the proposals offered by Mastercard and VocaLink to address the competition concerns.

In January, CMA announced a probe into Mastercard’s acquisition of VocaLink after finding that it will lead to reduced competition in the UK payment infrastructure services.

Mastercard chief product officer Michael Miebach said: “Adding bank account-based payments alongside our card network extends what we can do and how we can do it. Together, we’ll be one partner to meet all payment needs of businesses, governments and consumers.”

As part of the measures offered to address competition issues, VocaLink will make its existing network connectivity available to a new supplier of infrastructure services to LINK.

The measures also include Mastercard contributing to the cost to LINK members of changing to a new supplier of infrastructure services to LINK.  

In July last year, MasterCard entered into an agreement to acquire a stake of 92.4% in UK-based payments technology firm VocaLink Holdings for about £700m.

VocaLink is a supplier of payment infrastructure services to 3 major UK interbank payment systems such as Bacs, the Faster Payments Service (FPS), and the Link ATM network.  

VocaLink’s technology powers immediate payments in the world’s largest financial markets such as the UK, Singapore and Thailand.

Mastercard said that the acquisition will enable it to play a more strategic role in the UK as well as in other markets around the world.


Image: VocaLink is a supplier of payment infrastructure services to 3 major UK interbank payment systems . Photo courtesy of Competition and Markets Authority.