Financial services company Mastercard Inc. (MA) together with other four payments companies have been fined 33 million pounds ($45.01 million) by Britain’s payments regulator, Payment Services Regulator (PSR) for cartel behavior involving prepaid card which they issued to vulnerable individuals on welfare benefits.
The other four companies include; Prepaid Financial Services, Advanced Payment Solution, Sulion and Allpay. Mastercard was slapped with the largest chunk of fine of 31.56 million pounds ($43.04 million).
PSR says that the companies broke the competition law by agreeing not to compete or poach each other’s customers on prepaid card offered by local authorities to distribute welfare payments to vulnerable people.
“The cartel meant recipients of the cards – who included the homeless, victims of domestic abuse and asylum seekers could have missed out on cheaper or better quality products,” said FSR.
Back in March last year, the regulator had warned that its planning to fine five companies in preliminary findings. Following this recent announcement, it proves the regulator has now finalized its investigations on the matter.
FSR said during the investigations all the companies admitted of having broken the law.