Fabian Demicoli

GRTU calls for fast implementation of the Interchange Fee Regulation


During a Public Dialogue session organized by MEUSAC on the
Priorities of the Italian Presidency, GRTU CEO Abigail Psaila Mamo, emphasized
the importance of having the regulation on interchange fees treated with
absolute priority.

The regulation needs to be adopted by the end of 2014 so
that it can come into affect at the earliest possible. It is however important
that it is adopted according to the version approved in Plenary by the European
Parliament last April.

Unfortunately it seems that the Italian Presidency
intends to put forward a set of new proposals to these Regulations which it
will lobby for in Council and later at the EP. The proposals being put forward
by Italy are not going in the right direction in our view. GRTU has insisted
with the Maltese Government and the Maltese MEPs that they should support the
version of the European Parliament Plenary in April 2014.

Multilateral
interchange fees have been found at European Commission and court level to be
anti-competitive; they have cost businesses and consumers, on average, €9
billion per year for over a decade and stand in the way of market development
across Europe. The MIF is an important part of the total cost for card
acceptance and ultimately contributes to the prices of goods and services for
final consumers.

Healthier
competition is badly needed in the retail payments market to promote innovation,
improve customer service and ensure flexibility. The payments package will
provide benefits for all:

 

For consumers:

A true choice of low-cost, safe,
efficient electronic payments which operate across the EU. Lower MIFs will
produce better services and lower prices for all consumers, whether they use
payment cards or not.

The ability to use cards at more
outlets, as lower fees enable small merchants to take cards.

Access to new products and services
at transparent costs.

Full access to new e-commerce
services and new technologies.

For merchants:

Merchants will pay their fair share
of card costs and no more: they will be able to improve services and pass on
savings to consumers.

Easy access to an EU-wide market for
products and services.

For payment
providers:

An expanded market and the emergence
of new payment products will increase transaction numbers and so maintain
revenues.

Extra services can be marketed
through increased online traffic for banks.

Banks will move to embrace new
technologies, innovative payment products and make the best use of new
technologies.

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