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Interchange cap for non-EEA cards

14 MAY, 2019

Visa and Mastercard will reduce their inter-regional interchange fees by an average of about 40 percent. For European merchants, this means significantly lower costs when accepting payments from cards issued outside of Europe.

At the end of April, the European Commission announced that Visa’s and Mastercard’s commitment to reduce inter-regional interchange fees had been made legally binding. This is good news for European merchants as it will now be significantly cheaper to accept cards issued outside of the European Economic Area (EEA). On average, the inter-regional interchange fees will be lowered by about 40 percent and the reduction should be put in practice within six months.

Inter-regional interchange fees are what European acquirers have to pay card issuing banks outside the EEA when processing payments with their cards. These fees are set by the card networks and for merchants with an Interchange++ price model, they are then included in the transaction price charged by their acquirer. These merchants will benefit directly from the lower costs on this type of transactions. Merchants with blended pricing will instead benefit from a possible reduction in their fixed rates.

Read more about the different types of fees and price models here.

In their statement, the European Commission cited concerns that these fees had led to higher prices for European retailers who accepted non-EEA cards and had put them at a competitive disadvantage. By extension, the European Commission also hopes that reducing these fees will lead to cheaper prices for European consumers.

The new fees:

For card payments carried out by the cardholder in a shop ("Card Present Transactions"):

  • 0.2% of the value of the transaction for debit cards;
  • 0.3% of the value of the transaction for credit cards.

For online payments ("Card Not Present Transactions"):

  • 1.15% of the value of the transaction for debit cards;
  • 1.50% of the value of the transaction for credit cards.