BRUSSELS, July 31 EU antitrust regulators
charged Visa Europe, the European licensee of Visa Inc,
over its cross-border credit card fees on Tuesday, saying they
harm competition between banks and lead to higher consumer
EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia had flagged the
move last week.
The EU Commission, which acts as competition regulator in
the European Union, said Visa Europe's consumer credit card fees
in Europe breach EU antitrust rules.
The charges, contained in a "statement of objections", also
cover domestic credit card fees in eight EU countries, including
Italy and the Netherlands.
"Visa's MIFs (multilateral interchange fees) harm
competition between acquiring banks, inflate the cost of payment
card acceptance for merchants and ultimately increase consumer
prices," the EU watchdog said in a statement.
Visa's credit and debit cards make up about 41 percent of
all payment cards issued in Europe, making it the largest card
network in the region.
The company cut its debit card fees in December 2010 to
settle a Commission antitrust probe into that part of its
business, following a complaint by trade lobby group