European Retailers Against Unfair Banking Practices

2007 is the run-up year to SEPA and it will also see the European Commission decision in the case against MasterCard and most likely the re-opening of the case against Visa surrounding their anti-competitive practices. EuroCommerce has recently launched several initiatives to reinforce Europe’s conviction that action is necessary against anti-competitive price-fixing practices and monopolies. About 30 senior finance executives of European retail companies have joined together to support the European institutions’ objective of realising a single market for payments. At stake is the abolition of Visa’s and MasterCard’s interchange fees for both debit and credit cards. “Senior finance executives fear that SEPA will lead to efficient national debit schemes being taken over by Maestro and V Pay. These schemes are more lucrative for banks and more expensive for retailers and shoppers. We have witnessed this in several EU countries,” said Xavier R. Durieu, EuroCommerce Secretary General. EuroCommerce has launched a Manifesto on Payment Systems, entitled “Making payments work in Europe”, which outlines the issues European retailers encounter with payment systems today (such as the infamous Interchange Fee) and proposes solutions to improve the payment systems market.


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