Antitrust Case AT.40049 | MasterCard’s cross-border rules and inter-regional interchange fees

Series Details Case AT.40049
Publication Date 2013-2019
Content Type


Antitrust investigation conducted by the European Commission on Mastercard's cross-border rules and inter-regional interchange fees.

Further information:

The investigation was launched by the European Commission in April 2013 following concerns that some of Mastercard's inter-bank fees and related practices could be hindering competition in the European Economic Area (EEA). The company's rules obliged acquiring banks to apply the interchange fees of the country where the retailer was located at a time when interchange fees varied considerably from one country to another in the EEA. As a result, retailers in high-interchange fee countries could not benefit from lower interchange fees offered by an acquiring bank located in another Member State.

The infringement ended when Mastecard amended its rules in view of the entry into force of the Interchange Fee Regulation. In July 2015, the Commission issued a Statement of Objections on the basis of a preliminary view that the rules prevented retailers from benefitting from lower fees and restricted competition between banks cross border. As a result, the Commission decided to impose a fine on Mastercard. The company acknowledged the facts and the infringements of EU competition rules, which led to a 10% fine reduction in return.

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Related Link(s)
BBC News, 09.04.13: EU investigation to probe Mastercard fees
EurActiv, 10..04.13: EU to investigate MasterCard over card fees
Politico, 09.07.15: Vestager revives fight with MasterCard
BBC News, 09.07.15: EU says Mastercard overcharges consumers and retailers
EurActiv, 22.11.18: Visa, Mastercard offer tourist card fee cut in EU antitrust probe
Reuters, 04.12.18: Visa, Mastercard offer to cap tourist card fees to end EU probe
Politico, 22.01.19: Brussels fines Mastercard €570M for blocking cross-border competition
Deutsche Welle, 22.01.19: EU fines Mastercard more than half a billion euros
BBC News, 22.01.19: Mastercard fined £504m by Europe for competition breach

European Commission: Press Release, 09.04.13: Antitrust: Commission opens investigation into MasterCard inter-bank fees
European Commission: Press Release, 09.07.15: Antitrust: Commission sends Statement of Objections to MasterCard on cross-border rules and inter-regional interchange fees
Mastercard: Press Release, 04.12.18: Mastercard expects resolution of EU anti-trust proceedings in Q1 2019
European Commission: Press Release, 22.01.19: Commission fines Mastercard €570 million for obstructing merchants' access to cross-border card payment services

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