Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Inflated Visa fees ultimately paid by consumers?

Many Europeans are still on holidays and they are doubtlessly indulging in some cross-border shopping. They may want to be careful, though, when paying for their souvenirs with a Visa credit card (41% of payment cards issued in the EEA are Visa's credit and debit cards, and over 5 million retailers accept Visa payment cards). The European Commission raised its concerns as to high fees that Visa charges retailers when processing cross-border transactions, so-called "multilateral interchange fees" (MIFs - fees that are paid by retailers' banks to cardholders' banks). (Commission sends supplementary statement of objections to Visa) The preliminary conclusion of the EC is that MIFs harm price competition between banks, inflate the cost of payment card acceptance for retailers and ultimately raise prices for consumers. Visa considers the EC's position as hasty and confrontational, since they were trying to reach an agreement, preventing the European Commission from issuing the SSO (supplementary statement of objections). (EC raises concern over Visa fees)  Interestingly, the SSO concerns not only MIFs set by Visa in the EEA for cross-border transactions with consumer credit cards, but also to domestic transactions in eight Member States (Belgium, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands and Sweden). This is just one formal step in the EU antitrust investigation against Visa.

1 comment:

  1. This probably doesn't bode very well for all the people who have come to the UK for the Olympics (as Visa has an exclusivity deal and you are not allowed to use mastercard credit or debit cards to pay for things)