Ireland’s Synch Payments Facing Probe From Ireland’s Competition Watchdog

Ireland, competition, watchdog, Synch payments

Ireland’s competition watchdog announced Wednesday (Dec. 8) that is launching a full investigation into Synch Payments, a joint venture by AIB, Bank of Ireland, Permanent TSB and KBC.

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

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is moving into a full probe to determine if Synch Payments reduces the competition in Ireland, building on a phase-one CCPC investigation earlier this year.

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The is the latest stumbling block by Ireland’s four high street banks to launch the payments app Synch. In January, the banks informed the CCPC of their intention to create a digital payments service.

A preliminary assessment by the CCPC determined that it found the notification to be invalid because it could not evaluate the breadth of the banks’ strategies.

“Following an extended preliminary investigation, the CCPC has determined that a full investigation is required in order to establish if the proposed transaction could lead to a substantial lessening of competition in the State,” the CCPC’s announcement said.

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

The plans for Synch were already opposed by 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 to fund the venture, on top of an initial capital raise of €5.9 million that was reported earlier in the year.