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Itaú extends processing offer to non-account holders amid regulatory backlash

Itaú Unibanco Holding SA said it will expand a zero-rate processing offer for advance credit card payments to include retailers that do not have checking accounts at the bank, Reuters reported.

The bank's card processing unit, Redecard SA, announced in April that it would start repaying merchants who use its machines in just two days, much faster than the industry standard of 30 days. It would also start advancing cash without charging interest rates for small and medium-sized merchants who have accounts at Itaú.

Following the move, antitrust watchdog Cade filed an administrative proceeding against Itaú and Redecard, saying that the practice may have anticompetitive implications for the payments market. In November, the regulator denied Itaú's petition on the case and decided that Itaú cannot require merchants to open checking accounts at the bank to avail of the prepayment service.

According to Valor Económico, Cade ruled that the campaign should either be extended to non-account holders or be scrapped within 10 days.