A recent survey conducted by Ipsos MORI on behalf of MasterCard found that most European retailers think EU rules that cap interchange fees should move ahead only if the regulations apply to all retailers.
The survey was conducted through interviews with approximately 900 high value retailers across six countries in Europe to reveal their attitudes towards proposed payments legislation in the EU. Most of the retailers interviewed were from the travel and entertainment sectors.
Under the proposed rules, three-party card schemes like American Express and Diners Club are generally excluded from the scope of regulation, though the European Commission has said they operate an implicit interchange fee model similar to one applied by four-party card schemes like Visa and MasterCard.
According to the results of the survey, 55 percent of retailers would only support the proposed rules on electronic payments if American Express and Diners Club were covered. Only one in three retailers would support EU legislation that excludes certain card network operators.
Javier Perez, the president of MasterCard Europe, said the regulations could ultimately cost retailers and consumers; the study showed 69 percent of retailers indicated that AmEx fees were higher among operators with little difference in satisfaction with services provided.
Additionally, approximately 60 percent of retailers said they would not pass the interchange savings to consumers but would instead invest the savings in their business. Only 15 percent of retailers said they would reduce prices if the regulations result in savings.
“At MasterCard, we support the European Commission’s goal of promoting the use of electronic payments,” Perez said. “The draft regulation should be amended to cover implicit interchange fees operated by three party schemes. This can be achieved fairly simply through the introduction of rules on accounting separation already applied in other areas of EU legislation, such as telecommunications or energy.”