UK regulator fines Mastercard and others over pay as you go card cartel

©Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Mastercard logo can be seen on a credit card in this photo taken on August 30, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain's payments regulator on Tuesday fined five payment companies, including Mastercard (NYSE:), a total of £33 million ($45.01 million) for cartel behavior in the country's prepaid card market.

Mastercard received the biggest fine of £31.56million. The other companies fined were allpay, Advanced Payment Solution, Prepaid Financial Services and Sulion.

The payment services regulator said the firms violated competition laws by agreeing not to compete or poach their customers with prepaid cards offered by local authorities to distribute social benefits to vulnerable people.

($1 = 0.7331 pounds)

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