EU regulator to accept Visa Europe's fee cap offer - sources

BRUSSELS Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:40am EST

BRUSSELS Feb 14 (Reuters) - Europe's antitrust regulator will accept Visa Europe's offer to cap its inter-bank credit card fees at the same level as rival MasterCard, with the decision expected to be announced within weeks, two people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Visa Europe, Europe's largest card payments company which is owned and operated by more than 3,000 European financial institutions, proposed last year to cut the charges levied on retailers to 0.3 percent of the value of each transaction.

The offer came after the European Commission told the European licensee of Visa Inc that such fees were anti-competitive and resulted in higher consumer prices, putting it at risk of a hefty fine.

"The Commission is expected to accept Visa Europe's commitments. A decision is imminent," said one of the people who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The EU competition authority said last year that the company's proposal was for cross-border fees in Europe and domestic charges in 10 EU countries including Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Ireland and Hungary, and valid for four years.

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