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Regulating the Uncontrollable: The Development of Card Scheme Fees in Payments Markets in Light of Recent Policy Intervention

The Law and Economics of Patent Damages, Antitrust, and Legal Process

ISBN: 978-1-80071-025-2, eISBN: 978-1-80071-024-5

ISSN: 0193-5895

Publication date: 24 May 2021

Abstract

After more than three decades of research and legal cases pursued by the European Commission (EC) and national regulators, interchange fees for four-party consumer card transactions are capped on December 9, 2015 across the European Union (EU). Since then, the development of card scheme fees has been a raising concern for merchants. Due to their nature, these fees have not been dealt with in research or covered by the Interchange Fee Regulation (IFR). This chapter aims to assess the recent development of card scheme fees within four-party card payment networks by relying on survey data obtained from 104 merchants across the EU. Findings show that for half of the merchant population card scheme fees have increased since the regulation. Further concerns related to transparency of fees, pass-through of savings to retailers and subsequently consumers, and the development of commercial cards are discussed. In light of the EC's scheduled review of the impacts of the policy intervention in 2019 (Article 17 of the IFR), this chapter evaluates alternative arrangements for the setting of card scheme fees with a focus on the legal basis for a potential regulation. Findings shall provide a ground for further interaction between academics, practitioners, and policymakers.

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Acknowledgements

Acknowledgments

I wish to thank Pascual Fernández Martinez and Víctor Martín Barroso (Universidad Rey Juan Carlos), as well as Peter Robinson and Axel Schaefer (EuroCommerce) for their contributions.

Citation

Veljan, A. (2021), "Regulating the Uncontrollable: The Development of Card Scheme Fees in Payments Markets in Light of Recent Policy Intervention", Langenfeld, J., Fagan, F. and Clark, S. (Ed.) The Law and Economics of Patent Damages, Antitrust, and Legal Process (Research in Law and Economics, Vol. 29), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 89-110. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0193-589520210000029006

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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