Credit/Debit Cards, Regulation

Survey: European consumers expect interchange regulation to complicate paying by card

Card SwipeA recent survey conducted by IPSOS on behalf of MasterCard showed a majority of European consumers fear interchange legislation proposed in the EU will make the process of paying by credit card more expensive and complicated.

According to the poll, which examined consumer views on proposals under consideration by the European Commission to cap interchange fees, 2 in 3 consumers said the legislation would make it harder for them to use their bank cards.

Eighty percent of consumers polled also said retailers would not pass cost savings onto consumers in the form of lower prices.

“Any new legislation on electronic payments should act in the best interest of card users,” MasterCard Europe President Javier Perez said. “We commissioned this survey because of growing concerns that forcing down interchange fees artificially would drive up the cost of cards and prevent all market players from playing by the same rules. The results suggest that consumers across Europe share these concerns, and believe that the measures on the table are not in their interest.”

In July, the European Commission proposed rules that would impose a 0.2 percent cap on debit card interchange fees and a 0.3 percent cap on credit card interchange fees.

Sixty-five percent of consumers said an inflexible cap on interchange rates would make using payment cards worse for consumers, and 82 percent said retailers would not pass on the savings to consumers.

MasterCard said the proposed caps will drive the cost of cards up for European consumers. The company pointed to Spain as an example, where interchange caps reportedly resulted in an increase in cardholder fees of over 50 percent.

“At MasterCard, we share the European Commission’s objective of creating an efficient, competitive and innovative payments market,” Perez said. “However, we are concerned that some of the proposals, do not support these goals and will actually harm and inconvenience consumers.”

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