Interchange fees for consumer cards have decreased

Market integration in the EU has improved through more cross-border card transactions, Commission’s report notes

Interchange fees for consumer cards have decreased, leading to reduced merchants’ charges for card payments, and ultimately resulting in improved services to consumers and lower consumer prices, shows a report, published by the Commission on Monday. 

The report on the impact of the Interchange Fees Regulation (IFR) for card-based payment transactions finds that the main objectives of the IFR have been achieved and market integration has improved through the increased use by banks servicing merchants located in other Member States and through more cross-border card transactions.

Nevertheless, the Commission notes that further monitoring and reinforced data gathering are necessary in some areas, including those where only limited time has elapsed since the IFR entered into force. Given the positive impact of the IFR and the need for more time to see the full effects of the regulation, the report is not accompanied by a revision legislative proposal.

The IFR entered into force in 2015, and its main objectives were to address interchange fees for cards and card-based payment transactions, which were highly diversified, elevated and non-transparent.

The regulation caps interchange fees for consumer cards, introduces business rules and prohibits practices that create market barriers, such as territorial restrictions or the prevention of choice of payment brand or payment application by merchants and consumers.

As a follow-up to the report, that has been sent to the European Parliament and the Council, the Commission is also planning a public hearing with stakeholders on 7 December this year.

 

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