Tuesday, October 25, 2005

OFT issues statement of objections on Visa agreement (Retail Bulletin, UK)

The UK's Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has issued a statement of objections against Visa and its members, which includes most major banks, regarding an agreement on its domestic multilateral interchange fee (MIF) applicable to consumer credit card, charge card and deferred debit card transactions in the UK.

The OFT is of the view that the collective agreement between Visa and its member banks on the interchange fee charged between card issuing banks and merchant acquirers, on Visa card transactions taking place in the UK, restricts competition and infringes Article 81 of the EC Treaty and the Chapter I prohibition of the Competition Act.

The OFT believes that, like the MasterCard MIF agreement, the Visa MIF agreement leads to an unduly high fee being paid to card issuing banks by merchant acquirers on every Visa transaction, and that the cost of these fees is likely to be passed on to retailers and ultimately to consumers. These parties now have the opportunity to make representations to the OFT.

[Source: Retail Bulletin, UK]