German anti-trust regulator backs FinTech businesses against banking industry

Germany’s competition watchdog, the Bundeskartellamt, is giving fintech companies in the country more room to operate with a new decision.

The authority has declared some of the terms and conditions (T&C) traditional banks require consumers to agree on before using online banking services are in breach with both German and EU anti-trust regulations.

Current T&C prohibit customers from using their PIN as well as their tax deduction and collection account number (TAN) when making online payments unrelated to the services of their bank.

This, according to Bundeskartellamt president Andreas Mundt, “prevents the offering of new and innovative services in the growing online payments market.”

German banks have responded to the decision, saying they may sue the regulator over it and warning that a lifting of the T&C regarding PIN and TAN numbers could open the door for data privacy and online security violations.

The clauses against giving details to third party payment service providers have been made in the interest of the customers, the banks have said.

Online payments business Sofort GmbH, which has been affected by the current T&C, has hailed the Bundeskartellamt’s decision and expressed the hope it will lead to a better cooperation with the banks.

Launched back in 2005, Sofort offers customers to pay for their online shopping by using just their banking details. The company has partnered with several banking associations in Germany.

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