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EU: MasterCard outlook for interchange fight looks dim

 |  January 31, 2014

As MasterCard fights to maintain its cross-border swipe-fees throughout the EU, reports say the credit card giant’s efforts against authorities’ recent regulation of the fees is facing new obstacles.

According to reports, the Advocate General on the European Court of Justice recommended against MasterCard’s challenge to the European Commission’s ruling, which said that MasterCard’s interchange fees violated competition law.

The Commission found that the fees cost retailers throughout the EU more than $13.6 billion every year, while consumer rights advocates claim the hidden fees are often passed on to the customer.

The swipe-fees are charged every time a consumer from one nation travels to another in the EU and uses a credit card. The fees are collected by banks that process the payments. Reports say MasterCard fears any crackdown on the fees will discourage banks from issuing their cards.

But the Commission ruled against MasterCard, which subsequently filed an appeal to he EU’s highest court.

But Court of Justice advisor General Paolo Mengozzi issued advice on the case Thursday, telling the Court that it “should dismiss the main appeal and the cross-appeals.”

The Court will reportedly make its final judgment in the following months, but reports say it often follows such advice.

Reports also say that the advice may influence support for EU proposals to cap such interchange fees, which are also being challenged in the US.

Full Content: Reuters

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