In a long expected ruling, the Court of Justice of theEuropean Union (ECJ) has upheld a lower court’s 2012 ruling that foundMasterCard in violation of cross-border interchange fees. However this mostrecent announcement just represents the latest in a long legal battle betweenEuropean authorities and the global card network.
Commenting on the ruling, the judges wrote, “The Court ofJustice confirms the judgment of the General Court and thus validates theCommission’s decision prohibiting the multilateral interchange fees applied byMasterCard.”
The 2012 ruling stems from a 2007 declaration by theEuropean Commission that deemed the multilateral interchange fees (MIF) appliedby MasterCard on cross-border card payments to be against existing competitionlaw. The global card network immediately appealed the declaration and has sincebeen fighting the European authorities at every court until today.
However the ruling is effective redundant given thatMasterCard has agreed in the years since to reduce cross-border interchangetransaction fees within the trading bloc at 0.2% for debit cards and 0.3% forcredit cards. These new interchange caps are set to be enshrined in regulationwith the upcoming revised Payment Services Directive also known as PSD2. Sowhile the ruling means little, it highlights that the regulatory crusade againstinterchange fees within Europe are nearing an end.
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