The CMA today cleared Visa’s acquisition of Plaid in the UK after a Phase 1 investigation. The CMA was concerned that, absent the Transaction, Visa and Plaid would have become increasingly close competitors for consumer to business payments as account-to-account payments increasingly substituted for card based payments. The CMA was also concerned that Visa would be able to leverage its position in card-based payments to foreclose rival Payment Initiation Services (PIS) providers by tying or bundling its card services with Plaid’s PIS offering. The CMA ultimately dismissed both sets of concerns due to the presence of a large number of well-established PIS providers, further noting the ability of users of PIS services to develop capabilities in house and the role of Open Banking regulation in reducing the scope for differentiation between providers and the level of entry barriers. Reflecting this, the CMA found that Visa would have no ability to foreclose rivals.

A CRA team including Oliver LathamSam MardenChara Tzanetaki, advised the Parties.

The CMA summary of the decision is here.