New mobile payment app set to rival Revolut

Mobile payments have become a growing part of the number of consumers making transactions. As more and more people turn to mobile payments and banking, traditional banks are keen to get involved in the market.

The announcement of a new mobile payment service called Synch marks the entry of traditional banks into the mobile payments space.

Created in 2020, Synch Payments is a joint venture between AIB, Bank of Ireland, PTSB and KBC.

The development of the service aims to create an industry-wide bank payment app to rival Revolut.

With over 1.7 million customers in Ireland, Revolut dominates the mobile payments landscape. However, with the arrival of Synch, mainstream banks seem ready to challenge Revolut’s hold on the market.

Other FinTech banks that will be challenged by Synch’s launch include N26, Bunq, and Zumo.

What services will Synch offer?

The mobile app will allow consumers to send money to friends and family, as well as perform retail and e-commerce transactions.

Synch says the development of the mobile app will simplify the way people make and receive payments. Users won’t need to provide an IBAN or card number to pay someone. Instead, they will only need a phone number in their contacts.

Payments are received instantly even if the person you are sending money to belongs to another bank.

Addressing the Irish ExaminerNiamh Kennedy, head of brand and marketing at Synch Payments, said the Synch app “now makes it more convenient and secure to make payments to friends, family and businesses”.

The mobile payment service will be available to customers of banks and other financial institutions participating in Synch.

The app will provide consumers with instant person-to-person payments. It will also facilitate instant person-to-business payment services that can be used by e-merchants on their websites, or at retail outlets through the use of QR codes, to allow customers to pay goods and services.

Kennedy said the Synch app would mean: “There will no longer be a need to enter your card details, card number, expiration date or CVV on websites and you will no longer have to submit your plastic card at checkout. Store. You can do it all from your mobile device.”

While a number of traditional banks are participating in the creation of Synch Payments, it is hoped that credit unions will also be part of the system. “The service is open to any licensed financial institution in Ireland that provides an IBAN to Irish consumers to obtain a license,” Kennedy said.

Stopping the competition watchdog

The four banks initially notified the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) of their plans in January 2021.

However, that proposal was almost immediately rejected, when the watchdog took the unusual step of judging that the proposers had failed to provide it with enough information.

On April 8, 2021, the watchdog said it had been renotified by AIB, Bank of Ireland, PTSB and KBC. On May 19, the CCPC requested additional information from the notifying parties.

The watchdog then conducted a preliminary investigation into the proposed joint venture and concluded that a full investigation was needed to establish whether it could result in a substantial lessening of competition in the state.

The CPCC’s comprehensive investigation identified a number of preliminary competition concerns. In response to the watchdog’s concerns, the banks agreed to make several binding commitments to the CCPC.

Each year, Synch and the founding shareholders must report to the CCPC on the respect of the commitments.

Following this, the watchdog determined that the creation of Synch Payments would not significantly reduce competition. Accordingly, the joint venture between the banks was authorized.

It is understood that objections to the proposed mobile payment service have been submitted by both PayPal and Revolut.

Speaking yesterday after Synch was cleared by the CCPC, Inez Cooper, Managing Director of Synch, said: “The Synch app provides a secure, instant and frictionless experience for consumers while ensuring a seamless connection directly to their existing banking provider, delivering efficiencies for businesses.”

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