Lower fees for card transactions a reality by the end of 2015


The Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) Committee of the European Parliament has agreed with the Council on setting pan-European limits to multilateral interchange fees (MIFs). These fees are charged by consumers’ banks to merchants for payment card transactions made with either debit or credit cards.

Caps confirmed: less burdens for merchants
The confirmed deal includes most of Ecommerce Europe’s views on how the bank fees should be regulated. For example, it sets that fees charged to merchants for accepting consumer card payments will be limited to 0.2% (or €0.05 maximum fixed fee) for debit cards and 0.3% for credit cards, with the option for Member States to set lower fees. These caps will apply as from six months after entry into force of the MIF Regulation. The caps would apply to both cross-border and domestic card-based payments and should cut costs for merchants and consumers. This measure will ensure the continuation of current well-functioning national schemes that already provide lesser of a burden on merchants.

Merchants free to choose which cards to accept
Ecommerce Europe welcomes the fact that the text backed by the ECON Committee will break the “honor all cards rule” (with the exception of cards of the same brand and category which are subject to the same caps above) and the anti-steering provisions. This is good news for online merchants as it means they will be free to choose which cards to accept on their online shops.

Next steps
The European Parliament’s plenary still has to vote on the deal and this is expected to happen in April. The rules will then need to be officially endorsed by the Council before they can take effect, six months after the legislation enters into force. The caps are expected to apply by the end of 2015.

Ecommerce Europe will closely monitor the legislative process and keep her members updated about the progress. Moreover, it continues to engage in the discussions on a Payment Services Directive II that is in line with the provisions of the MIF regulation to develop a competitive European payments landscape.

For further information on Ecommerce Europe’s recommendations, please click here for the Ecommerce Europe Position Paper on e-Payments (2014).