Visa, Mastercard propose merchants' tourist card fee cut to end EU probe

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Visa and Mastercard have offered to cut merchants' charges for non-EU credit and debit cards by at least 40 percent to end an EU antitrust investigation, part of a decades-long crackdown by the European Commission against such fees.

The EU competition enforcer said interchange fees in which the merchant's bank pays a charge to the cardholder's bank which then subsequently passes on the cost to the merchant, result in higher consumer prices.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
V VISA INC. 276.02 +0.48 +0.17%
MA MASTERCARD INC. 465.60 -2.19 -0.47%

Visa, the world's largest payments network operator, and No. 2 player Mastercard have proposed a 0.2 percent fee on debit card payments carried out in shops and a 0.3 percent fee on credit card payments, the Commission said on Tuesday.

For online payments, debit card charges would be 1.15 percent and 1.50 percent for credit cards. The case affects foreign tourists using their cards in the 28-country bloc.

Third parties have a month to provide feedback before the Commission decides whether to accept the offer or demand a bigger fee reduction. Reuters reported on the offer from Visa and Mastercard last month.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Philip Blenkinsop and Edmund Blair)