The Superintendency of Industry and Commerce (SIC), the body in charge of ensuring the proper functioning of the markets and dependent on the Government of Colombia, has formulated a list of charges against Visa and Mastercard to determine if they had implemented strategies aimed at hindering participation of payment aggregators in the market.
If this behavior is proven, the Superintendency may impose fines of up to 116,000 million pesos for each infraction on the companies involved.
People who had collaborated, facilitated, authorized, executed or tolerated anti-competitive conduct could be fined up to 2,320 million pesos.
These aggregators make it easier for Colombian consumers to access products and services from foreign businesses, by allowing them to make payments in Colombian pesos and choose the number of installments for which they want to defer their payment.
It is, therefore, a less expensive business model for consumers when compared to what would be offered with the intervention of Visa and Mastercard.
Thus, according to the SIC, Visa and Mastercard’s strategy would have consisted of two actions. Firstly, create its own program to replace the business model used by payment aggregators, which would have generated higher costs, which, consequently, would have compromised their permanence in the market.
Secondly, the sending of a series of communications to different banks with the alleged purpose of preventing them from maintaining commercial relations with payment aggregators that did not take advantage of their programs. As banks would be indispensable allies for payment aggregators, the communications sent by Visa and Mastercard would have been ideal to prevent the aggregators from continuing in the market.
The strategies developed by Visa and Mastercard would also have discouraged the use of alternative models in electronic commerce, which would affect the well-being of consumers.
(Referential image source: SIC, dpa)