Ellex Valiunas has assisted Swedbank in the Lithuanian Competition Authority's investigation of charges that Swedbank had abused its dominant position by including certain provisions in Bank Link service agreements concluded with undertakings providing online payment collection services to e-shops.
According to a press release issued by the Lithuanian Competition Authority, "such provisions were seen as restricting the aforementioned undertakings‘ ability to offer new online payment collection services – payment initiation services – to Swedbank customers."
Payment initiation services provide an alternative solution to traditional Bank Link services used for collecting online payments. These new services enable payment collection service providers to initiate payments directly from the customer’s bank account via software “bridge” without concluding agreements with the banks. Suspecting that Swedbank restricted payment collection service providers’ ability to offer an alternative online payment collection solution and thus abused its dominant position, the Council initiated the investigation.
The same press material reported that "during the investigation it was found that in Bank Link service agreement concluded with payment collection service provider Paysera Swedbank included certain provisions restricting Paysera‘s ability to offer online payment initiation services to Swedbank customers.”
The investigation also revealed that similar provisions were included in Bank Link service agreements concluded with other payment collection services providers. This might have restricted the ability of such undertakings to operate on the market, and prevented e-shops from choosing alternative and possibly cheaper online payment collection services.
Upon Swedbank's demonstration that it had voluntarily terminated the allegedly anti-competitive actions and committed to properly and fully eliminating the purported breach, and since Swedbank‘s actions did not cause significant damage to the interests protected by the Law on Competition, the Council decided to close the investigation.
According to Ellex Valiunas, this case "is a good example of constructive approach in solving competition-related matters.”