Daily Dash: Visa, Mastercard Extend EU Antitrust Commitments On Interchange Fees

July 9, 2024
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Visa and Mastercard have volunteered to extend a key antitrust commitment in the EU, while the first phase of a payment linkage between Russia and Iran is set to go live next month.

Visa, Mastercard Extend EU Antitrust Commitments On Interchange Fees

Visa and Mastercard have voluntarily extended their antitrust commitments on inter-regional interchange fees beyond November 2024. 

The European Commission, which made these commitments legally binding in April 2019, has acknowledged this decision. 

Originally, the companies agreed to reduce these fees by an average of 40 percent for payments within the European Economic Area (EEA) using consumer cards issued outside the region.

Under the extended commitment, the caps on interchange fees will remain in place for another five years, until November 2029. The fees for card-present (offline) transactions will stay capped at 0.2 percent for debit cards and 0.3 percent for credit cards. 

For card-not-present (online) transactions, the caps will remain at 1.15 percent for debit cards and 1.5 percent for credit cards.

"At this stage, the commission has no indications that the market has substantially changed and that the caps agreed in 2019 would not be appropriate anymore," the commission said in a statement. 

However, the commission added that the voluntary undertakings by Visa and Mastercard do not prevent it from conducting investigations or opening proceedings should it "obtain concrete evidence showing that the current caps would not be appropriate anymore". 

Iran, Russia Complete Stage One Of Payment System Linkage

The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has announced that Iranians will soon be able to use Russia’s MIR card payment system to spend and withdraw cash in Russia.

Mohammad-Reza Farzin, CBI governor, said the linkage with Russia’s MIR network is expected to go live next month.

As quoted by local media, Farzin made the announcement while in St Petersburg this weekend for the Financial Congress of the Bank of Russia.

He added that stage two of the partnership will see Iran’s SHETAB card network opened up to Russian nationals in Iran.

In stage three, SHETAB card holders will be able to spend at point of sale (POS) terminals in Russia.

The two countries also signed an agreement on the use of national currencies to facilitate bilateral trade.

Dutch Finance Minister Proposes Law To Restrict UBO Register Access

The Dutch minister of finance has presented a draft law, “Amendment Act Restricting Access to Ultimate Beneficial Owners Register”, to the House of Representatives.

The proposed legislation seeks to tighten regulations surrounding access to information on the ultimate beneficial owners (UBOs) of companies and other legal entities. It also aims to enhance privacy and security by limiting access to UBO registers.

As proposed, only competent authorities, entities subject to customer due diligence obligations under the Anti-Money Laundering Directives, and parties involved in sanctions compliance, monitoring and enforcement would be granted access.

The legislation follows a Court of Justice of the European Union ruling at the end of 2022 that the benefit of public access is not proven, and can interfere with the private lives of those on the registers.

DBS Hit By $1.3m Fine For Monitoring Failures In Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has issued a HK$10m ($1.3m) fine to the local subsidiary of DBS, Singapore’s largest bank, for violations of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) laws.

The regulator found that from 2012 to 2019 the bank failed to continuously monitor and conduct enhanced due diligence during “high risk” business situations. DBS also failed to keep records on some of the customers involved, the HKMA said.

The case came to light following an HKMA investigation of DBS’ systems and compliance controls.

The HKMA said the penalty was mitigated by DBS’ cooperation and its lack of previous violations of Hong Kong’s AML/CTF laws.

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