MIF: The Root of Evil or Just a Scapegoat?

This article is part of a Chronicle. See more from this Chronicle

Lia Vitzilaiou, May 27, 2008

Multilateral interchange fees and their appropriate regulation under EC competition law have triggered a vigorous debate over the last years among academics, jurists, and economists. This debate has been further incited since the Commission of the European Communities issued its decision in MasterCard in December 2007 and initiated formal proceedings against Visa Europe Limited in March 2008. Since 1992, when the MIF was first brought to the Commission’s attention following complaints by merchants and after the benchmark Visa decision in 2002, many domestic decisions have been issued and sector inquiries have been conducted both at the EC and national levels. Nonetheless, even if one would expect that after 16 years of debates, decisions, complaints, objections, inquiries, and research, that the Competition Authorities would have a clear idea about the appropriate treatment of MIF, it is no exaggeration to assert that for the most part we are still in the dark.

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