EU accuses MasterCard of overcharging customers, retailers

BRUSSELS: The European Union has accused American credit-card giant MasterCard of overcharging customers and retailers.


According to the European Commission, a preliminary statement of objections that it believed MasterCard was in breach of EU single market competition rules.

“Many consumers use payment cards every day, when they shop for food, clothes or purchase anything online. We currently suspect MasterCard is artificially raising the costs of card payments, which would harm consumers and retailers in the EU,” EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.

“We have concerns both in relation to the rules MasterCard applies to cross-border transactions within the EU, as well as the fees charged to retailers for receiving payments made with cards issued outside Europe,” Vestager said. “MasterCard now has an opportunity to respond to our charges.”

MasterCard confirmed it had received the Commission’s statement of objections and would respond in due course.

In 2013, Visa cut its fees by up to 60 percent and agreed to “reform its rules to facilitate cross-border competition” following a similar Commission probe. The sending of a formal statement of objections does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.