The European Commission announced Tuesday that it has fined the card scheme Mastercard 570 million euro (USD 647 million) for limiting the possibility for merchants to benefit from better conditions offered by banks established elsewhere in the EU Single Market, in breach of EU antitrust rules.
EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said in a press release that European consumers use payment cards every day, when they buy food or clothes or make purchases online.
“By preventing merchants from shopping around for better conditions offered by banks in other EU Member States, Mastercard’s rules artificially raised the costs of card payments, harming consumers and retailers in the EU,” she noted.
Mastercard is the second largest card scheme in the European Economic Area in terms of
consumer card issuing and value of transactions. Under the MasterCard scheme, banks offer card payments-related services under common card brands, Mastercard and Maestro.
Mastercard acts as a platform through which issuing banks provide cardholders with payment cards, ensure the completion of the card payment transaction and transfer funds to the retailer’s bank.