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Argentina: Government to back alternative to VISA

 |  October 4, 2016

Argentina’s senate has passed a resolution setting a top limit for credit card tariffs, lowering the current average of 3% to 1.5%, with fees completely eliminated for debit cards. The country’s banks responded quickly, warning that such a reduction would involve a necessary reduction in available special offers, including the popular ’no interest’ personal banking schemes.

Argentina’s Chamber of Commerce (CAC), which was deeply involved in bringing the attention of the government to the matter of credit card tariffs, has gone on record as being dissatisfied with the extent of changes, considering them insufficient as failing to attack the deeper issues – which they claim is a deeper linkage and cartel-like behavior within the credit card sector. This accusation has already prompted competition regulator CNDC to begin an investigation on possible market-altering practices in the sector, focusing its attention on local VISA operators Prisma.

Interior Trade Secretary Miguel Braun has also been charged with drawing up an alternative scheme for regulating credit cards, backed by senator Alfredo Luenzo. Official sources indicate that the aim would be to find a balance between the need to reduce the tariffs charged each time a card is used, while preventing the impact from affecting quality of service and offers for consumers – particularly at a time when official policy has been to encourage the use of banking and financial services.

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