As e-commerce merchants look for ways to control their payment costs, ACH may have gotten a boost as an online payment method. The payment method, which automatically debits the consumer’s bank account, is a popular way to pay for e-commerce purchases in other parts of the world. When Mastercard last summer announced it had agreed to acquire London-based direct debit and mobile payment network provider VocaLink, it signaled an effort by the credit card network to position itself as a provider of ACH. Merchants in the U.S. increasingly are exploring its viability there. This week, Mastercard and VocaLink cleared an important regulatory hurdle, paving the way for the acquisition.
On Tuesday, the U.K.’s Competition & Markets Authority approved the deal after Mastercard and VocaLink agreed to several conditions related to making its ATM network available to competitors.
Adding VocaLink’s technology and expertise in immediate bank account-based payments (i.e., fast ACH) will enable Mastercard to expand the payment services it offers merchants, according to Michael Miebach, chief product officer for Mastercard.
“We believe the future of payments will be defined by choice,” Miebach said. “Adding bank account-based payments alongside our card network extends what we can do and how we can do it. We have the opportunity to extend everything that we’ve accomplished with cards to bank account-based payments and redraw the lines of what’s possible in commerce.”
Evaluating ACH as a Payment Method