According to the CMA, purchase of Experian Payments Gateway (EPG) by the payment software firm Bottomline Technologies, may reduce competition


Image: Bottomline and the EPG business provide payments software for businesses. Photo: Courtesy of Free-Photos from Pixabay.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), a non-ministerial government department in the UK, has said that it is examining the completed merger of Bottomline and the Experian Payments Gateway (EPG) business for possible competition concerns.

Bottomline and EPG are the providers of the payments software, where Bottomline is the largest and EPG is a trusted supplier to some of the biggest businesses.

CMA mergers senior director Joel Bamford said: “Payment software is critical to many businesses in the UK for managing payments including direct debits and paying their staff. Bottomline is already the largest supplier and has purchased a rival who is trusted by many large businesses with few remaining competitors left in the market.

“Our investigation has shown that other options for the EPG business were available which could have resulted in more competition in the future. We are therefore concerned this transaction could lead to prices going up or less development of current software.”

Bottomline to provide solutions to resolve the CMA’s concerns

Bottomline and EPG provide payments software for businesses to carry out everyday transactions, including direct debits submission, running payroll and paying suppliers.

The software services provided by the companies directly connects to the UK’s Bankers’ Automated Clearing Services (Bacs) scheme Bacstel-IP service and Faster Payments System Direct Corporate Access (FPS DCA).

Following the completion of its initial Phase 1 investigation, the CMA intends to check whether the newly merged company may increase prices, reduce product availability, or reduce the investment.

The CMA said that if Bottomline had not acquired EPG, then it would have been purchased by a different firm, resulting in a more competitive market with greater product development.

In addition, Bottomline is provided with a deadline until 14 October to provide solutions to resolve the CMA’s concerns. If the company fails to provide solutions, the merger is expected to be reviewed under an in-depth Phase 2 investigation.