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Table of Contents

Lead Story

Health care: When will payments stake its claim?

News

Industry Update

Hats in the ring for ETA awards

All clear for Intuit, ECHO merger

California chomps on gift card leftovers

Acquiring today, a shapshot

L60 at odds with Pipeline

EC interchange ruling: Merchants applaud, MC digs in

Swipe 'n shred, self-service fraud foiler

Features

AgenTalkSM:
Terence Van Horn

Triton layoffs changes, challenges

Tracy Kitten
ATMmarketplace.com

ISOMetrics:
ISOMetrics

Views

Hot, hotter contactless and mobile

David Talach
VeriFone

Education

Street SmartsSM:
Winter profit-land

Dee Karawadra
Impact PaySystem

Drill down to the fine print

Jeff Fortney
Clearant LLC

B2B and B2G: The road ahead

Aaron Bills
3Delta Systems Inc.

POS system power

Maxwell Sinovoi
United Bank Card Inc.

Interviewing for quality

Curt Hensley
CSH Consulting

PCI compliance: Don't forget the little guys

Ken Musante
Humboldt Merchant Services

Company Profile

Credit Cash

New Products

Eco-friendly two-sided receipt printing

2ST thermal receipt printer
NCR Corp.

Wireless terminal for mobile pros

Blue Bamboo H50 POS terminal
Blue Bamboo

Inspiration

Clean slate, new fate

Miscellaneous

POScript

Departments

Forum

Resource Guide

Datebook

A Bigger Thing

The Green Sheet Online Edition

January 14, 2008  •  Issue 08:01:01

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EC interchange ruling: Merchants applaud, MC digs in

It's a coup, of sorts, for merchants and their allies in the battle against the big-name card brands' pricing strategies. In a ruling handed down last month, the European Commission said certain interchange rates for MasterCard- and Maestro-branded credit and debit card payments violate EC rules, which are roughly equivalent to fair competition laws in the United States.

The rates in question apply only to consumer cards, not corporate or business cards.

They affect virtually all cross-border transactions and certain domestic transactions using MasterCard and Maestro cards, according to a Dec. 18, 2007, EC announcement.

EC Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes described the charges, known as multilateral interchange fees (MIFs), as "among the highest in Europe, set at more than 0.50% for debit ... and more than 1% for credit card payments."

The EC has given MasterCard Worldwide six months to drop the fees, or face daily penalty assessments equal to 3.5% of its daily transaction totals.

In its statement, the EC described MasterCard's MIF as "a subsidy to its member banks [that] burdens the acquiring party with costs."

Merchant groups immediately seized on the EC ruling to push for similar legal action in the United States.

"European authorities say MasterCard is double dipping in Europe, and that's exactly what we think both MasterCard and Visa are doing in the U.S.," said Mallory Duncan, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at the National Retail Federation.

"It's time for this to stop and ... authorities here in the U.S. should take the European ruling as a signal that it's time to bring the same relief to U.S. consumers."

MasterCard appears to be digging in for a long fight.

"We are disappointed that after years of review of MasterCard Europe's transparent, default cross-border interchange fees, the commission failed to appreciate that without a mechanism to fairly share costs among all the participants in a payment system that functions across Europe and around the globe, consumers will be hurt," said Javier Perez, President of MasterCard Europe.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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Spotlight Innovators:

North American Bancard | USAePay | Impact Paysystems | Electronic Merchant Systems | Board Studios