Payzone is considering a ­legal challenge against the stranglehold that rival PayPoint has over the ­payment services market.

The company is to fight PayPoint's exclusivity agreements, which ban retailers that use a PayPoint electronic payment services terminal from using any of their competitors' terminals at the same time. It also plans to challenge PayPoint's exclusive relationship with many of the biggest service providers, particularly the utility ­companies, to insist that they also allow Payzone and other competitors to offer payment services.

Payzone's bid to open up the market was sparked by last week's provisional ­decision by the National Lottery Commission to bar Camelot from offering ­electronic payment services through its lottery terminals.

The decision had highlighted the anti-competitive nature of the market, Payzone managing director Bill Thomson told The Grocer.

"All I have heard in the 15 months since I have been in the job are complaints about the structure of the industry but I don't see anyone doing anything about it, so we have to," he said. "If a legal challenge is the right option, we will do it. We have sought legal advice. We believe it's in the interests of retailers and consumers to change the way the market operates."

Payzone was prepared to mount a legal challenge, he added, but hoped to be able to secure an agreement by speaking to bill providers and PayPoint instead. PayPoint said that having exclusivity avoided "a ­fragmented offer that ­confuses customers".

Read more
Camelot ban sparks calls for fair play in e-payment sector (analysis; 24 July 2010)
Lottery commission blocks Camelot e-payment bid (16 July 2010)