Government intervention “threatens the continued development of payments” in the EU, according to MasterCard Europe’s president, Javier Perez.
Perez voiced his concern following Mastercard’s appeal against the European Commission’s 2007 decision on the company’s cross-border consumer interchange fees in the EEA.
“What is at stake in this case is the future direction of European payments – whether or not consumers and businesses will have more or fewer choices in how they want to pay, and whether payment methods in the EU will remain world class,” said Perez.
“Why is the Commission trying to fix what isn’t broken? The market is moving fast and in ways that no one, including regulators, can easily predict,” Perez added.
Further pointing out the tremendous change in the payments industry since 2000, when the Commission first began to examine interchange fees, the case, according to Perez, highlights the role of interchange as “the most transparent and efficient way to achieve the right balance among all participants in the system.”
MasterCard’s multilateral interchange fees (MIF) is a charge levied on every payment processed at a retail outlet. In 2007, the European Commission ruled out the MIF, citing violation of EC Treaty rules on restrictive business practices (Article 81). According to the Commission the charge was inflating the cost at which cards are accepted by retailers, without proven efficiencies.