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12 years after its initial complaint against Visa and MasterCard, EuroCommerce is today lodging a new complaint against Visa Europe.
The European retail association argues that the fees, set by Visa and its member banks and imposed on retailers, constitute an infringement of European competition law. It was the imposition of exactly such fees which led the European Commission to rule against MasterCard in December 2007. EuroCommerce calls for the same robust decision against Visa.
At the core of the complaint is the infamous Multilateral Interchange Fee (MIF): when a customer pays with a Visa debit or credit card, the merchant has to pay to his bank a non-negotiable and completely opaque amount. The fact that retailers pay for benefits which go to others distorts competition between banks: the more banks compete, the higher the prices.
"The Visa interchange fee procedure is completely unfair", says Xavier Durieu, Secretary General of EuroCommerce. "Retailers are forced to pay for a range of services from which they do not benefit. Bank rates are the only services which retailers, even the largest ones, are not able to negotiate".
Furthermore, EuroCommerce does not regard new rates published by Visa on 11 March 2009 as a fair amount either, while MasterCard rates on cross-border transactions are zero. Studies published by the bank themselves reveal that the cost of running a pan-European debit card, profit included, is not higher than 1 eurocent per transaction.
"We are confident that the European Commission will deal with this new case in the same way they have decided on MasterCard in 2007. In the end, all consumers will benefit from a better functioning market."
The Malta Chamber of SMEs represents over 7,000 members from over 90 different sectors which in their majority are either small or medium sized companies, and such issues like the one we're experiencing right now, it's important to be united. Malta Chamber of SMEs offers a number of different services tailored to its members' individual requirements' and necessities. These range from general services offered to all members to more individual & bespoke services catered for specific requirements.
A membership with Malta Chamber of SMEs will guarantee that you are constantly updated and informed with different opportunities which will directly benefit your business and help you grow. It also entails you to a number of services which in their majority are free of charge and offered exclusively to its members (in their majority all free of charge).