Mastercard and Visa agree to cut overseas card fees

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Mastercard and Visa have both agreed to cut their fees for tourists using their cards in the EU, after a long-running battle with the European Commission.

The credit card firms will now charge retailers around 40% less on non-EU credit and debit cards payments.

The European Commission said the deal would lead to “lower prices for European retailers to do business”.

Ultimately, the commission said this should lead to lower prices for tourists to the European Union.

The European Commission, which has waged a decades-long crackdown on payment and credit card fees, believes that so-called interchange fees – which the credit card firms charge businesses for accepting payments from consumers – result in higher prices.

According to the terms of the deal, Visa, the world’s largest payments network operator, and rival Mastercard, will charge a 0.2% fee on non-EU debit card payments carried out in shops and a 0.3% fee on credit card payments, the Commission said.

This would bring their fees in line with those charged for EU cards.

‘Important milestone’

The newly agreed rates will come into force on 19 October and apply for five years.

Ultimately the hope is that the EU agreement will make it cheaper when a person uses their debit or credit card overseas.

Visa said it had played “a central role negotiating a resolution that achieves the best outcome for all parties.”

“European merchants and cardholders continue to enjoy the significant benefits of international card payments, both in store and online, which make an important contribution to European economies,” it added.

Mastercard said the closure of this antitrust case “was an important milestone for the company”.

Earlier this year, the European Commission fined Mastercard €573m ($650m, £504m) for anti-competitive behaviour.

It said Mastercard had prevented retailers using cheaper banking services outside their home country.