At the request of the Dutch Minister of Finance, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has launched a market study into the activities of major tech firms (so-called Big Techs) on the Dutch payments market. Well-known Big Techs include Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook. The market study will additionally examine whether Chinese Big Techs such as Tencent and Alibaba are planning on entering the Dutch payments market. The main research question is whether these Big Techs have plans to become active competitors on the Dutch payments market, what those plans are, and what impact those plans would have on consumers and businesses. What new payment options will become available? Will small businesses have sufficient opportunities to enter this market as well?
Why has ACM launched a market study?
Traditionally, there are few service providers on the payments market (primarily the major banks and credit card companies). The European rules on access to payment data (PSD2), which came into force in February 2019, made it possible to have more competition and more innovation in the payment system. The entry of major tech firms would boost competition and innovation on the payments market.
At the same time, ACM is fully aware that the entry of Big Techs potentially also carries anticompetitive risks. Big Techs could use the strong positions they have acquired on one market as leverage to dominate another market. Their presence on or even the mere announcement of entering the payments market could prevent other providers from also entering that market.
Discussions with market participants
The Dutch House of Representatives has requested the Minister of Finance to launch a study into the impact of the entry of Big Techs into the Dutch payments market. At the request of the Minister of Finance, ACM will interview experts, and, in early-2020, send out a survey to Big Techs, financial tech firms (fintechs), and banks, among other market participants. By mid-2020, ACM wishes to share its insights into the current and future activities of Big Techs on the payments market. ACM will identify the opportunities for and risks to competition that are presented by the Big Techs’ entry into the payments market.
Prior to the survey, ACM wishes to get in touch with businesses, and discuss questions such as:
- What activities have Big Techs planned for the Dutch payments market over the next few years?
- What is the impact on competition of the Big Techs’ entry into the Dutch payments market?
- What should ACM pay attention to in this market study?
Should you have any opinions about these questions that you would like to share with ACM, or if you have any questions about this market study, please send an email to bigtechs [at] acm [punt] nl. We will respond as quickly as possible, and will use your input in our market study.