UK retailers are hoping to see card costs come down following an EU ruling over interchange fees.
The EU General Court has decided that MasterCard cross border interchange fees – a big chunk of card processing costs – are not compatible with EU law.
This now opens the way for similar action within each of the EU states, where interchange fees add a significant cost for both merchant and consumer.
Independent retailer association BIRA and others have been fighting for the case to be brought to a head for over a decade.
Speaking on the announcement of the judgement, the association’s professional services director Bob Jarret said: “This signals victory at the end of a long-running war in Europe, 12 years to be precise, and BIRA and its predecessors have been at the forefront of this fight throughout.
“The battle now reverts to home soil here in the UK, and we’ll now be pressing the Office of Fair Trading to act quickly to implement a similar ruling here. This will hopefully result in an interchange fee regime that reflects the actual costs that card firms incur in processing transactions and so bring an end to the unjustified imposition of higher interchange fees for so-called premuim cards.”
BIRA member Trevor Draper, who runs The Billericay Cookshop, added: “Hard-pressed consumers need card costs to fall and the card companies’ fees are key to this. The OFT can act on this. They should do so now.”