UK Regulator To Review Visa, Mastercard Processing & Swipe Fees

The U.K. Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) published on Tuesday (June 21) details of two market reviews that is planning to conduct later this year on Visa and Mastercard’s processing fees and cross-border interchange fees.

The first market review, on scheme and processing fees, stems from a previous market review carried out by the PSR on the card-acquiring market. In that market review, the regulator found that fees paid by acquirers had increased from 2014 to 2018. In January 2022, the regulator published its initial remedies in the market to make it more transparent and to allow acquirers to negotiate better terms with the card networks. However, the regulator still wants to examine the levels, structure and types of scheme and processing fees. This new market review will build on the card-acquiring market review, the regulator said.

“Cards are the most popular way for consumers to make a payment. To accept card payments, merchants must pay certain fees which can ultimately impact the cost we all pay for goods and services. We want to understand whether card payments are working well and to make sure that merchants, and ultimately consumers, get a good deal,” said Natalie Timan, head of strategy at PSR.

The second market review, on Visa and Mastercard’s cross border interchange fees, may not come as a surprise to many, as the recent increases on this type of fees since the U.K. left the European Union, five times higher now according to the regulator, already raised some flags at the PSR. In an interview with PYMNTS in March, Andrew Self, senior policy manager at the PSR, already mentioned that the card-acquiring market review revealed that cross-border interchanges fees have increased over the years and this, for the PSR “poses important questions around whether there are sufficient competitive constraints on card schemes.”

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