The fees that banks charge for processing consumers’ payments in the EU could be capped at 0.3% of the transaction value for credit card transactions and at a maximum of seven euro cents for debit cards, under a proposal being voted on by MEPs on Thursday 3 April. Pablo Zalba, a Spanish member of the EPP group, who is responsible for steering the plans through Parliament, told us more about the benefits.
How will consumers benefit from these proposals?
Consumers will benefit in two main ways: we will impose a cap on these interchange fees, so they will save hundreds of millions or even billions of euros; and we will introduce more transparency, so they know when paying how much corresponds to these fees. An additional advantage of this proposal is that it will help to combat fraud, because when card use increases, fraud becomes more difficult.
Are financial institutions charging artificially high interchange fees to consumers as telecom operators charge for roaming abroad?
It's not up to me to say if these fees are artificially high or not. The truth is that there has not been much competition in this market so far, and we know what happens in these cases. What I can say is that once this legislation comes into force, people will pay less. And as card payments increase in the medium and long term, financial institutions will receive more income.
Which EU countries have the cheapest and the most expensive interchange fees?
Eastern consumers are the ones paying higher fees due to lower card penetration. Nordic and Dutch consumers are paying lower fees.