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01 December 2023

MasterCard challenges EU antitrust ruling

By Agencies

MasterCard said on Monday it was lodging a court challenge against a December decision by EU antitrust regulators targeting the payments card giant.


The company said it has asked the Luxembourg-based European Court of First Instance to throw out the European Commission's demand that it scrap fees that regulators consider to be unjustified on cross-border transactions.


"MasterCard firmly believes that market forces, not regulation, should drive key decisions such as the setting of interchange fees and retailers' choices over which forms of payment to accept," MasterCard Europe president Javier Perez said in a statement.


"If left unchallenged, and especially if followed by national regulators, the commission's decision would not only be bad news for consumers, but a blow to the European payments industry," he added.


The European Union's top competition watchdog threatened in December to impose daily fines equal to 3.5 per cent of MasterCard's daily global turnover if the company failed to withdraw interchange fees within six months.


MasterCard currently collects the fees, which can range from 0.4 per cent to 1.2 per cent of a purchase's value, each time consumers make a payment at a retail outlet with MasterCard or Maestro branded credit and debit cards.


The company said at the time that it would comply with the ruling, but also vowed to lodge an appeal.


According to the commission, consumers make over 23 billion card payments each year worth more than €1.35 trillion (Dh7.5trn). (AFP)