The European Parliament’s IMCO Committee (Internal Market and Consumer Protection) voted on 11th in favor of the opinion in which the ECON Committee will become the main legislator on a regulation on interchange fees for card-based payment transactions. Adam Bielan, the Polish rapporteur in IMCO, said he was very pleased with the result.
The regulation is currently still in the IMCO committee as the topic of multilateral interchange fees – also known as MIFs – are still subjected to debate. The proposal for a MIF regulation entails that the height of interchange fees are capped at a maximum of 0.2% for debit cards and at 0.3% for credit cards. The current average for credit cards in Europe is 0.9%. The aim of the proposal is to make card based transactions cheaper, and to facilitate cross-border transactions which would result in an increase of online shopping.
As could be expected, card issuers are critical of the proposal as they would see their incomes per transaction decrease. Olle Schmidt, a Swedish MEP from ALDE – the liberal party – used to be on the hand of the card issuers as he has been: “against this from the beginning” on the basis that all caps on fees are wrong. He has changed his opinion however, since he now believes that a real and functional Single Market needs to regulate caps on fees.
Ecommerce Europe firmly supports the capping of multilateral interchange fees as it would lower the prices for online transactions, benefitting both consumers and retailers.