Responding to the news that MasterCard Inc is to acquire VocaLink, a spokesperson for the Payment Systems Regulator said:

'It will be for the relevant merger authority to consider the effects of this merger under merger control law. 

'However we have been clear for some time that the question of ownership and competition in payments infrastructure was something that needed to be explored in more detail. That is why one of our first actions was to begin our Infrastructure Market Review.

'We recently finished consulting on our interim findings and a package of potential remedies that we think will make the market work better. One of the remedies we proposed in our February interim report was for the banks to sell their stake in VocaLink in order to open the market and allow more effective competition and innovation.

'We will be publishing a final report later this month and will set out our initial view on how the proposed acquisition may affect the concerns we expressed about ownership and control in the interim report that we published in February.

'On the acquisition, we will discuss developments with MasterCard and VocaLink and – where appropriate – with the relevant merger authority. Our main consideration is that the infrastructure delivers good outcomes for the people and businesses that use it.

'That discussions are taking place about ownership, and changes being made, is an encouraging sign that people are starting to question the status quo and ask whether it offers effective competition.'