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Reduced Credit Card Fees “a step closer” after European Committee Vote - Carthy

27 January, 2015 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West Constituency Matt Carthy has welcomed the vote by the Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) Committee today in Brussels in favour of the proposed trialogue amendment to cap fees charged by banks to process shoppers’ payments across the EU.

The Sinn Féin MEP, who is working on the deal on behalf of the GUE/NGL group within the Parliament, has said the amendment is the result of an agreement reached through negotiations by the ECON committee, the European Council and the Commission and could see the introduction of the capped fees on cross border and domestic card based payments very quickly after the plenary vote by the European Parliament in April.

Speaking from Brussels after the vote today Carthy said: 

“I welcome the vote by the ECON committee today in favour of the trialogue amendment which seeks to cap interchange fees for card-based payments, paid by the merchant’s bank to the bank that issued the card.

“Currently the fees for card based payments are not transparent and differ between EU countries where in some cases they are subject to legislation and others to decisions by national competition authorities.

“As a member of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee and Shadow Rapporteur for this legislation my priority is to ensure that retailers do not suffer and undue costs by credit card companies and that consumers are protected from excessive charges.

“During discussions at ECON preparatory meetings I also highlighted the importance of including cross-border transactions in any capping arrangements. 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.

“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 welcome the progress that has been made here today and I intend to lobby my fellow MEPs for support to ensure that this legislation is voted through at plenary.”

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