PARIS, Sept 23 Mastercard and Visa
have agreed to cut the fees to process credit card transactions
in France by almost half.
The French Competition Authority announced the agreement
with Visa and Mastercard in the wake of proposed legislation
from the European Commission that banks and payment firms limit
the fees they charge on card payments.
Card companies have waged a 20-year battle with the EU's
executive, which enforces antitrust rules in the 28-country
A spokeswoman for the French regulator said that its remit
was transactions within France, rather than the cross-border
European transactions that are governed by the EU's regulator.
Both Visa and Mastercard will cut interbank fees to around
0.28 percent of the transaction value from about 0.5 percent
currently, and will also reduce cash-machine fees to 0.55 euros
($0.74) per withdrawal from 0.75 and 0.60 respectively, the
competition authority said in a statement.
The agreement also comes after several moves by the French
watchdog to cut bank customers' fees in France. French banks
agreed in 2011 to cut interbank card fees by more than a third
and last year they pledged to cut fees charged for direct-debit
The watchdog has in the past criticised French banks for
charging some of the highest interbank fees in Europe.
A Visa Europe spokesman declined to comment. Mastercard did
not immediately respond to a request for comment.
($1 = 0.7402 euros)
(Reporting by Lionel Laurent; Editing by Greg Mahlich)