UK Regulator Fines Four NatWest Banks for Interchange Fee Violations

Four NatWest Group banks — National Westminster Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, Ulster Bank and Coutts & Co. — were hit with fines totaling $1.9 million from the UK Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) for overcharging interchange fees on credit cards.

An investigation was launched four years ago after the issue was found during routine monitoring, the PSR said. Banks had erroneously charged numerous cards as being commercial when they were actually consumer cards and should have been subjected to a cap, the regulator said.

“The interchange fee caps were put in place to reduce the cost of accepting customer card payments for shops and other merchants’ businesses. The banks broke the rules by failing to bring themselves in line with the caps,” Chris Hemsley, Managing Director of the PSR, said in a press release on Thursday (May 12).

Hemsley added that as soon as the agency noticed the issue, it “stepped in to make sure the banks put a stop to it.” Fees were reimbursed to customers and fines were levied by the PSR.

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