Transbank monopoly a barrier for other companies, says Adyen

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chilean credit card administrator Transbank has a monopoly in the country and is not prepared to deal with international market demands, Dutch internet payment system Adyen's manager for Latin America, Jean Christian Mies, told BNamericas.

Adyen has been in conversations with Transbank in recent months to find a solution so it can operate in Chile, but the situation is "complicated," Mies said, adding that the company is looking to offer its payment services in Chile.

"The main barrier for other competitors in the country is that Transbank has a monopoly and they have no intention of opening the market to other companies that could offer similar services to theirs," the executive said.

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When contacted by BNamericas, Transbank executives declined to comment.

At the moment Transbank is the only option for credit card and online payments in Chile, so Ayden is looking into other alternatives, such as talking with other card operators entering Latin America that are also looking for a solution in Chile. "But to be honest, it's very difficult," Mies said.

When asked about the possibility of presenting a formal complaint to Chilean free trade tribunal TLC, the executive said the ideal scenario would be for its clients in Chile, such as airline Lan, to take part in such an initiative. "But of course, if there's any initiative we will support it."

According to the executive, one of the main problems is that Transbank does not accept foreign credit cards in online transactions - thereby limiting possibilities for local companies to do business abroad.

Ayden is currently in conversations with other airlines and e-commerce companies in Chile to offer its services, as well as with enterprises from the US and Europe that are trying to get into the local market.

There are many things that could be done in Latin American markets, Mies said, but Chile is one of the most "complicated" in the region because of the situation with Transbank.

According to the executive, Argentina has a similar situation, " also with some sort of monopoly" by VisaNet, a retail electronic payments processing network from credit card Visa. But the difference, Mies said, is that VisaNet is a "well prepared service that specializes in cards; they know what they are doing."

A month ago, Chilean lawmaker Gonzalo Arenas filed a lawsuit with the economic unit of the district attorney's office (FNE), accusing Transbank of abusing its dominant position and of charging excessive commissions for credit card use.