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Matt Carthy MEP working on EU deal to cap financial card payment fees

3 January, 2015 - by Matt Carthy MEP

The fees that banks charge retailers to process shoppers’ payments could soon be capped across the EU following trialogue negotiations between the EU Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee with the European Council and Commission held before Christmas.  The trialogue agreed that the cap would apply to both cross-border and domestic card-based payments and should result in lower costs for consumers.

Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West, Matt Carthy, is working on the deal on behalf of the GUE/NGL group within Parliament and has said that, if agreed by the full Parliament and EU member states, lower charges will be introduced very quickly.

Speaking this week Mr. Carthy said:  “Interchange fees for card-based payments, paid by the merchant's bank to the bank that issued the card, are not transparent and they differ between EU countries, where they are subject in some cases to legislation and in others to decisions by national competition authorities.  As a member of the Economic & Monetary Affairs Committee I was appointed to shadow this legislation and in this role I have been proactively engaging to ensure that consumers cannot be excessively charged for using their debit or credit cards or that retailers won’t suffer undue costs by card companies.

“During discussions at ECON preparatory meetings I urged that the issue of cross-border transactions be included in any caps as this is particularly important in an Irish context where we need to break down all barriers in order to create an effective all-Ireland economy.

“I am pleased to report that, once this agreement has been finalised, cross-border debit card transaction fees will be capped at 0.2% of the transaction value. With domestic transactions, member states can apply the cap of 0.2% to the annual weighted average transaction value of all domestic transactions within the card scheme for just five years and thereafter the cap per transaction will universally apply.

“For credit card transactions, a fee cap of 0.3% of the transaction value will apply.  Member states, including Ireland, can decide to impose a lower cap if they so wish.

“These changes will be a positive development for customers and for Irish businesses operating on a cross-border basis.  I look forward to returning to the Parliament this week and helping to secure support for this legislation” Matt Carthy concluded.

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