September 27, 2017 / 4:31 AM / a year ago

Argentina moves to increase competition among credit card firms

BUENOS AIRES, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Argentina’s Prisma credit card and payment processing network will be split up in an attempt to increase competition in the country’s financial sector, Production Minister Francisco Cabrera said late on Tuesday.

The break up of Prisma, owned by Visa International and 14 banks that operate in Argentina, is part of President Mauricio Macri’s effort at opening up Latin America’s No. 3 economy after eight years of heavy state intervention under the previous administration.

Macri was inaugurated in December 2015 and has since dropped trade and currency controls that had put off investors.

“This is an important step toward strengthening the defense of competition in Argentina,” the minister said in a statement announcing Prisma’s dissolution.

The statement said Prisma “accepted the commitment to divest” but the details had yet to be worked out. The company could not immediately be reached for comment.

“The measure will allow the entry of new companies to the credit card market, which will benefit businesses, consumers and the economy in general,” it said.

The resolution signed by Cabrera breaking up Prisma applies to the companies money transfer system as well.

Reporting by Walter Bianchi; editing by Clive McKeef

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