BEUC: Consumers urge Commission against scale down on excessive card fees

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.1
Monique Goyens, Director General of BEUC, commented:
“Consumers are fed up having to perk up card company and bank balance sheets. Courts2 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 claims3 and piggy-back on consumer organisation and
retailer credibility to suit their purposes4. 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.”

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