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Consumers urge Commission against scale down on excessive card fees

18 June 2013
by BEUC -- last modified 20 June 2013

European Commission plans to curb consumer unfriendly card transaction fees are under attack from intense lobbying by card companies such as MasterCard. Such Multilateral Interchange Fees (MIFs) generate a steady stream of income for banks and card companies at the expense of consumers, retailers and SMEs.


MIFs are added to the cost of goods and services - even for those consumers who pay with cash or do not even possess a card - as retailers have to hand over part of their income to the consumer's bank every time a consumer uses a credit/debit card to make a purchase.

Monique Goyens, Director General of BEUC, commented:

"Consumers are fed up having to perk up card company and bank balance sheets. Courts and regulators have time and again ruled interchange fees unfair and so plans by the European Commission to finally regulate them would be a very welcome move.

"We have seen MasterCard make misleading claims and piggy-back on consumer organisation and retailer credibility to suit their purposes. Such underhand tactics should not be rewarded.

"MIFs stifle competition as they prevent new card companies from entering the market. They also thwart innovative, cheaper and more secure payment means from emerging because most banks prefer cards for their MIF-related income. The fact that a few big players dominate the card market is convenient for banks, but bad for consumers."

BEUC, The European Consumer Organisation has a membership of 41 well respected, independent national consumer organisations from 31 European countries (EU, EEA and applicant countries). BEUC acts as the umbrella group in Brussels for these organisations and our main task is to represent our members and defend the interests of all Europe's consumers.

BEUC, the European Consumers' Organisation