Well, subject to Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) rubber-stamping, Mastercard have almost got their feet under the table with their purchase of Vocalink, the operator of Faster Payments, BACS and Link ATM networks in the UK.
There is much speculation into why they have paid a 40x profit multiple for Vocalink.
Mastercard themselves say the deal will give them access to a major electronic financial transaction network in the UK to allow it to significantly increase its market share. It will give Mastercard access to Person-to-Person (P2P) and Business –to-Business (B2B) transactions through different payment channels such as mobile and bank payments rather than just Person-to Merchant (P2M) card transactions.
There are however concerns that a single company monopoly over the network could lead to higher processing prices down the line and could even stifle innovation on some of the existing product lines.
A particular concern that is close to our heart is what if any, changes they bring to the Direct Debit space. In all likelihood, there are far bigger monetising priorities for Mastercard than focusing on the provision of Vocalink Holdings highway to BACS Payment Schemes. But, it will be interesting to see if they are keen on developing the Direct Debit Scheme to the next technological level which Eazy Collect would welcome and perhaps now that 18 different banks don’t have to get an agreement (like SEPA), maybe some long-awaited improvements may see the light of day quicker.
One can hope!