Visa and MasterCard have agreed a deal with the French competition authority to slash their card interchange fees in the country by nearly half. Under the deal, from 1 November both firms will charge merchants a maximum of 0.28% of the amount of the transaction to process a payment – a 49% reduction on MasterCard’s current average and a 44% fall on Visa’s charge.
The French Competition Authority announced the agreement with Visa and Mastercard in the wake of proposed legislation from the European Commission that banks and payment firms limit the fees they charge on card payments.
Card companies have waged a 20-year battle with the EU’s executive, which enforces antitrust rules in the 28-country bloc.
A spokeswoman for the French regulator said that its remit was transactions within France, rather than the cross-border European transactions that are governed by the EU’s regulator.
Both Visa and Mastercard will cut interbank fees to around 0.28 percent of the transaction value from about 0.5 percent currently, and will also reduce cash-machine fees to 0.55 euros ($0.74) per withdrawal from 0.75 and 0.60 respectively, the competition authority said in a statement.
The agreement also comes after several moves by the French watchdog to cut bank customers’ fees in France. French banks agreed in 2011 to cut interbank card fees by more than a third and last year they pledged to cut fees charged for direct-debit bill payments. The watchdog has in the past criticized French banks for charging some of the highest interbank fees in Europe.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond, a judge has ruled that the US Federal Reserve’s rules for debit-card fees will remain in place while the bank appeals a decision throwing them out. In August US District Judge Richard Leon ruled that the Fed disregarded the intent of Congress by setting a cap on interchange fees for debit card transactions too high – at 21 cents rather than the 12 cent ceiling proposed in earlier consultations.
„Tendinţele pe care le-am remarcat înainte de începerea pandemiei s-au accelerat pe perioada stării de urgenţă. Am văzut acest lucru ca o oportunitate, un tipping point pentru bancă. Post-pandemie nu avem cum sa ne întoarcem la comportamentul financiar pe care îl aveam până în februarie a.c. Relaţia românilor cu online-ul s-a schimbat. In plus, cardul fizic se va dematerializa. Vom asista la o scădere a cererii pentru cardurile fizice, respectiv la o creştere a preferinţei pentru componenta digitală a acestora.”