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EU fines Mastercard $648M for anticompetitive behavior

Jaclyn Jaeger | January 22, 2019

The European Commission on 22 January 2019 fined Mastercard 570.6 million euros (U.S. $648 million) for anticompetitive behavior, in breach of EU antitrust rules.

When a consumer uses a debit or credit card, the retailer’s bank pays an “interchange fee” to the cardholder’s bank. The retailer’s bank then passes this fee on to the retailer who includes it in the final prices for all consumers, even those who do not use cards.

At issue here was Mastercard’s requirement that retailers’ banks apply the interchange fees from the country where the retailer was located. In April 2013, the Commission opened a formal antitrust investigation into Mastercard to assess whether these “cross-border acquiring” rules breached EU antitrust rules.

Ultimately, the Commission investigation concluded that Mastercard’s rules infringed Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which prohibits agreements between companies or decisions by an association...

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