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April 3, 2009

MasterCard concedes to EU pressure on fees

by Gill Montia

Story link: MasterCard concedes to EU pressure on fees

MasterCard Europe has, for the time being, conceded defeat in its battle with the European Commission over fees for cross-border credit card transactions.

The company has agreed to reduce credit card charges to retailers and their banks by a half, to 0.3% for the average purchase; for debit cards the fee will fall to an average 0.2%.

The Commission had called MasterCard to account under its antitrust rules but the action will now be dropped.

EU Competition Commissioner, Neelie Kroes, says she sees no reason to proceed further, adding that the “changes come at a moment where we need increased efficiency in the banking sector and when lower costs for merchants and consumers can be a real help out of the crisis”.

However, MasterCard may yet challenge the directive, claiming that the new charges are not sufficiently high to encourage investment and innovation.

Meanwhile, Visa will be forced to follow MasterCard’s latest lead.


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