Visa and Mastercard have offered to cut interchange fees on payments made by tourists using cards issued outside the European Union to limit fines and end an EU antitrust investigation, The European Union has reportedly accepted the offer.
The European Commission, which has continued its decades-long crackdown on payment and credit card interchange fees, says that the fees, in which the merchant’s bank pays a charge to the cardholder’s bank, result in higher prices for consumers.
“Mastercard and Visa have committed to significantly reduce the interchange fees applied to payments made in Europe with cards issued elsewhere.The commitments, which are now binding on Visa and Mastercard, will reduce the costs borne by retailers for accepting payments with cards issued outside the EEA.
This, together with our January 2019 decision on Mastercard’s cross-border card payment services, will lead to lower prices for European retailers to do business, ultimately to the benefit of all consumers,” comments Margrethe Vestager, Europe’s antitrust chief.
The companies’ commitments will cut such fees by 40% on average, the European Commission said.
Visa, the world’s largest payments network operator, and closest rival Mastercard have proposed a 0.2% fee on non-EU debit card payments carried out in shops and a 0.3% fee on credit card payments, the Commission said late last year.
This would bring their fees in line with those charged for EU cards, which were the subject of a long EU investigation after a 1997 complaint by business lobby EuroCommerce.
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