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Brussels objects to VISA inter-regional fees

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Brussels objects to VISA inter-regional fees

Credit card - Image by Michiel1972 from nl

(BRUSSELS) - The European Commission sent a supplementary Statement of Objections to Visa Inc. and Visa International Thursday, focusing on inter-regional fees on transactions with consumer debit cards.

This is a procedural step in an ongoing investigation by the EU executive under EU antitrust rules into the collective setting of the fees that merchants are charged by the Visa card holder's bank for each Visa card payment carried out at their shops.

The cost increase caused by these fees is not charged directly to the Visa card user but is spread across all consumer transactions at different merchants (shops). It could potentially lead to higher prices for consumer goods and services.

The supplementary Statement of Objections follows one adopted in 2012 against Visa. In February 2014, the Commission adopted a decision that rendered legally binding commitments from Visa Europe and closed the proceedings against it. The current supplementary Statement of Objections covers inter-regional interchange fees.

These fees are charged on payments made with cards issued outside the European Economic Area (EEA) for purchases in the EEA, most typically by tourists or other travellers. Inter-regional fees represent an important part of the total fees within the Visa scheme.

Since Visa Inc. and Visa International did not offer commitments in 2014, the case against these companies continued.

The supplementary Statement of Objections sent by the Commission:

  1. focuses the analysis on the conducts that were not already addressed by the Visa Europe commitments of 2014;
  2. includes inter-regional fees applied on transactions with consumer debit cards (in addition to the inter-regional fees with credit cards); and
  3. takes into account the fact that in June 2016 Visa Europe became a subsidiary of Visa Inc. and ceased to exist as a separate undertaking.

Further information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number AT.39398.


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