EU launches Visa interchange fees inquiry
The EU enquiry will seek to establish whether Visa Europe's cross-border fees violate European competition rules. In a statement, the EU says these rules "forbid restrictive business practices such as price fixing".
In 2002, Visa Europe signed an agreement with the EU, under which it agreed to reduce its cross-border interchange fees over five years. That agreement expired at the end of 2007. In December 2007, the EU told MasterCard to abandon its cross-border interchange fees within six months or face fines (cf. Smart Insights #08-02). MasterCard is currently appealing that ruling (cf. SI #08-11).