OFT alters Mastercard investigation

21 June 2006
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has announced that it will no longer be pursuing an investigation into transaction fees imposed by credit card lender Mastercard in the past.

The consumer group confirmed, however, that it would be continuing with a probe into 'interchange fees', which relate to the costs incurred by retailers using credit card payments.

Chief executive of the OFT John Fingleton said: "We still believe that collectively agreed interchange fees go against the principles and letter of competition law and are harmful to consumers, who see higher prices as a result of these fees.

"It's in the best interests of consumers and businesses to see this problem addressed quickly through focusing on current fees, rather than historic ones. Not only does this new approach tackle the consumer detriment issues, but it also gives clarity and certainty to Visa and Mastercard."

The OFT requested that its original ruling against Mastercard be dropped following the credit card company's 2004 alterations to its fee structure.

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