EU antitrust probe targets MasterCard fees

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Commission suspects credit card company MasterCard of slugging customers in the European Union with artificially high fees.

Antitrust commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Thursday that the European Union's executive arm suspects MasterCard "is artificially raising the costs of card payments, which would harm consumers and retailers in the EU."

The Commission's concerns focus on "interchange fees" paid by a retailer's bank to the bank of customers using their MasterCard. These fees vary from country to country and MasterCard's rules prevent retailers from benefiting from lower fees in other countries.

The Commission also says fees charged to merchants when non-European card holders shop in Europe "may not be justified."

MasterCard says it is "working with the European Commission on the issue as part of an ongoing constructive dialogue."