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In 2007 the Commission ruled that MasterCard’s MIF breached European competition law and ordered MasterCard to remove it. As a consequence, MasterCard set its cross-border MIF to zero in 2008. But it simultaneously lodged an appeal against the Commission’s decision before entering into a commitment with the body for a limited MIF.
EuroCommerce, which lodged the original complaint, is set to intervene in support of the Commission. A final decision is expected later in the year.
At about the same time, French bank consortium GCB (Groupement des Cartes Bancaires) decided to cut debit interchange in the country.
Under this French decision the MIF is reduced from 0.47% to a 0.28% weighted average for all cards (debit, differed debit, credit) instead of the 0.32% the group unsuccessfully proposed. Importantly for travel retail, the French Competition Authority also included commercial cards in this average.
Despite the regulators’ actions against international card networks such as MasterCard and Visa Europe, definite answers regarding interchange in Europe over the long term are still lacking.