The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) has issued a Statement of Objections that alleges that MasterCard, Allpay, APS, PFS and Sulion engaged in anti-competitive behaviour between 2012 and 2018, by agreeing not to compete or poach each other's public sector clients.
The case relates to pre-paid cards that are used by local authorities to distribute welfare payments to vulnerable members of society, such as the homeless, victims of domestic violence and asylum seekers.
In February 2021 MasterCard, Allpay and PFS agreed to settle with the PSR and admitted that they took part in the alleged anticompetitive arrangements. If the PSR ultimately establishes that there have been infringements then MasterCard, Allpay and PFS have agreed to pay fines totalling over £32 million.
Local Authorities should consider the extent to which they may have suffered financial loss as a consequence of this alleged anti-competitive conduct.
Freeths are reviewing with local authorities the potential for follow-on damages claims to recover losses - please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
James Hartley & Leonia Chesterfield
"By colluding in this way, we consider the parties were acting as a cartel. Because of the reduced competition, local may have been missing out on an alternative supplier or products that were either cheaper or better suited to their needs and the needs of those using the pre-paid cards." Payment Services Regulator 31.3.2021