Mastercard and Visa have separately agreed to lower fees paid by merchants on acceptance of debit or credit cards issued outside the EU. The EU card fees cut is intended to end an antitrust investigation by the European Commission (EC).

The EC said that both the card giants proposed to cut the interchange fee by a minimum of 40%.

According to the proposal, the companies will levy 0.2% and 0.3% fee on debit card payments and credit card transactions, respectively, made in-store.

For online payments, the cap will be 1.15% for debit cards and 1.5% for credit cards.

The EU card fees cap would apply for five and a half years. The EC asked Mastercard and Visa not to circumvent the commitments, and to ensure that the card fees are made clearly visible on their websites.

Mastercard expects resolution of the antitrust probe in the first quarter of next year. The EC alerted the company on its concerns over interchange fees in 2015, while Visa was notified last year.

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Furthermore, Mastercard is expecting approximately $650m fine in the fourth quarter of this year related to a second EU antitrust investigation into one of its legacy point of sale rules in the region.

Mastercard Europe president Javier Perez said: “The anticipated closure of this anti-trust chapter at a European level will be an important milestone for our company.

“Together with our partners, we will continue to develop and implement solutions that enhance seamless shopping experiences and that offer increased peace of mind to consumers that their data and financials are safe and secure.”

In September this year, Mastercard and Visa agreed to a $6.2bn settlement with US-based banks concerning card swipe fees charged to retailers in the country.