Plans by banking duo, CaixaBank and Santander, along with telecommunications provider, Telefónica, for an online community to manage offers, discounts and promotions between businesses have been given the go-ahead by the European Commission.
A separate company will now be created to link merchants and consumers through digital and mobile means. In addition to the voucher-like solution being proposed, there will also be a digital wallet for customers to store all their card details.
Once the digital wallet is rolled out, the European Commission (EC) feels it will encounter an adequate competitive environment, which is backed up by evidence that several digital wallet providers already exist or are likely to emerge in Spain soon.
Additionally, concerns that Telefónica could block competing digital digital wallets from accessing its mobile and static broadband connections are unfounded, according to the EC. It believes Telefónica does not have the technical ability to carry out such measures.
Investigations by the EC discovered little in the way of overlap between Telefónica and the online and mobile-based couponing and loyalty services. However, it did mention possible competition could come from global players such as Google and Yahoo.
CaixaBank, Santander and Telefónica are starting their voucher and digital wallet venture in Spain where 600,000 businesses are being targeted, but they also intend on rolling the product out internationally.