MEPs vote to cap card payments

By Kevin Rozario |

Last Thursday, MEPs in the European Parliament voted to cap fee levels for both consumer and commercial cards and introduce other measures to help retailers and their customers.

 

The vote by the Economic and Monetary Committee (ECON) on the European Commission’s ‘Payments Package’ endorses the position of retailers – such as those in the Fair Payment Alliance – on card fees and structures, despite lobbying by the banks and card companies.

 

The package aims to improve competition and conditions for retailers and other stakeholders in credit or debit transactions, both in-store and on-line.

 

Kappé International Chairman and leader of the FPA, Jacques Parson (left) – who also chairs the Dutch Retail Federation’s Payments Committee – says: “It has been a busy time for our network and our stakeholder allies, such as EuroCommerce, and we are very pleased overall with this vote. It puts us now more firmly in the driving seat than retailers have ever been politically on card fees and the payment structure.

 

“However, this is a first step, albeit a crucial first step. We have a full plenary vote first and then much work to do with our network and other stakeholders with the Council of Ministers. It is imperative to ensure the clear intentions of this payments package are delivered into European Law for the benefits of travel retailers and our customers.”

 

MAXIMUM OF 0.3%

A key result of the vote would be the capping of credit card transactions at a maximum 0.3%, while debit cards would similarly be capped at a maximum 0.2% or €0.07 per transaction, whichever is the lower.

 

These proposals now cover commercial or corporate cards and cap fees for card schemes like AMEX and Diners club if their volumes exceed a certain trigger point.

 

The Parliament aims to ratify this first decision in a vote at a plenary session in April, before the Parliament dissolves for the European elections in May. Once they have been ratified, the process moves to the Council of Ministers to adopt the texts before they become European law.

 

Once adopted, the new rules are expected to be enforced within a year across all EU member states, with a review on the functioning of the new regulations two years later.

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