The European credit card industry is under further pressure as European Union auti-trust officials elevated their battle against the current credit card interchange. A “supplementary statement of objections” was sent to Visa as the latest step from the EU’s antitrust regulators on credit card interchange. EU officials said the mitilateral interchange fees (MITs) have hurt competition and increases prices:
“We believe at this stage that these fees are a restriction for competition, that Visa has also not convincingly proven that there are benefits for consumers that would offset these restrictions,” said Antoine Colombani, spokesman for competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia.
The new statement from the EU is expected to lead to negotiations between Visa and the antitrust regulators. An agreement between the two parties is possible in which Visa might agree to change at least some of its current practices in order to avoid fines and other further actions from the regulators:
Visa Europe said it regretted the commission’s decision.
“We are very disappointed that the commission has taken such a confrontational approach and was not willing to find a solution to support investment and innovation in European payments for the benefit of European consumers and to allow European payments to compete globally,” said Peter Ayliffe, the company’s chief executive.
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