Fees are a tricky thing when it comes to credit cards, both to the users of payment processing software and the consumers who make use of them. They are an indelible piece of the payment process, and yet can cause much disarray and potentially land a company in trouble. An antitrust investigation is being undertaken by the European Commission into the fees charged to foreign card users within EU countries. Reportedly, charges are currently skewed in favor of residents and this response could signal a re-awakening of the sort of concerns that once surrounded the same company's international interchange fees in that region, which have been forbidden since 2007.
According to a report in the New York Times, MasterCard's fee policies could net it a fine if they are found to violate regulations. Comments from members of the commission seem to place the consumer as the top priority in this investigation.
"Ultimately, such behavior is liable to slow down cross-border business and harm E.U. consumers, " the commission is quoted as having said in a statement last week.
But another concern for the investigators appears to have been the overall effect this could have in terms of the economies of different nations. The difficult state of policies across the EU's member countries can make payment processing a challenging task for merchants. Other European MasterCard policies are also being called into question.
It can be challenging for individual retailers to negotiate the needs of other parties when attempting to conduct their business, especially with a point-of-sale system. Companies looking to establish a more solid foundation with their processors can look for systems that allow for the best compromise, a solution that accepts popular brands without disabling the merchant in question.