The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has filed a complaint against Visa. The watchdog is accusing the global card issuer of misusing market power in order to prevent the expansion of dynamic currency conversion services (DCC) in merchant outlets and at ATMs.

DCC allows cardholders the option to pay using either their home currency or via the local currency of the retail outlet or ATM. The exchange rate is locked in and disclosed to the cardholder at the time of the transaction, reducing the risk to cardholders posed by subsequent changes in exchange rates.

Visa, the ACCC alleges, earned less revenue from DCC transactions and therefore decided implement rules which sought to prevent the expansion of the service. The commission stated that between May 2010 and October 2010 Visa banned merchants who were not already offering DCC from providing the service.

Visa is also accused of banning the use of DCC on ATMs transactions in Australia from at least October 2007 on all of its cards.

Rod Sims, ACCC Chairman, said: "The ACCC is concerned that Visa sought to stop the growth of competing dynamic currency conversion services and, as a result, limit the choices available to consumers. Pursuing companies who misuse their substantial market power, to the detriment of consumers and small businesses in particular, as is alleged against Visa in these proceedings, is an enforcement priority for the ACCC".

The ACCC revealed that it is seeking penalties, declarations and costs against Visa.

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