MasterCard and Visa agreed to reduce exchange rates for payments made in Europe with cards issued elsewhere by an average of 40% following an EU antitrust investigation.
The two payment card schemes were reprimanded by the EU competition control body for the application of higher interregional exchange rates for European retailers that accept payments with cards issued outside the EEA, which claimed an increase in the prices of consumer goods and services throughout the region.
The Commission is the first competition authority in the world to intervene in interregional freight structures.
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, says: "MasterCard and Visa have committed to significantly reduce the exchange rates applied to payments made in Europe with cards issued elsewhere." The commitments, which are now binding for Visa and MasterCard, they will reduce the costs incurred by retailers to accept payments with cards issued outside the EEA. This, together with our decision of January 2019 on cross-border card payment services of Mastercard, will lead to lower prices for that European retailers do business, ultimately, for the benefit of all consumers "
The Commission has been waging a long-term war with the two dominant card systems for the costs incurred by merchants to accept Visa and MasterCard cards, which culminated in the imposition of maximum limits on cross-border charges and a fine of 570 million of euros in MasterCard to limit the possibility for merchants to benefit from the best conditions offered by banks established in other parts of the Single Market, in violation of EU antitrust rules.
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