Sean Kelly MEP welcomes the decision of credit card companies to lower their charges to customers from outside the EU
The tourism sector received an unexpected boost recently when credit card companies agreed to lower their charges to customers from outside the EU, welcomes Ireland South MEP Sean Kelly.
MEP Kelly says that when people ask, 'what does the EU do for me?', it’s often quite difficult to come up with a simple answer.
However, a perfect example of the bloc’s effectiveness is the recent victory against big business. Visa and Mastercard have caved in on the issue of credit card charges where the card is from outside the EU.
Ireland South MEP Sean Kelly
For example, if a hotel guest settles a bill with an American card, the charge to the merchant or business will now be reduced by 40%. This saving will make the Irish tourism sector more competitive, ultimately benefiting consumers.
Visa, the world's largest payments network operator, and closest rival Mastercard have proposed a 0.2% fee on non-EU debit card payments carried out in shops and a 0.3% fee on credit card payments. This would bring their fees in line with those charged for EU cards, which were the subject of a long EU investigation after a 1997 complaint by business lobby EuroCommerce.
The European Commission has waged a decades-long crackdown on payment and credit card fees, and it’s thought that the credit card companies’ action was an effort to stave off fines and end an EU competition investigation.
MEP Kelly says the the EU is often criticised for the length of time it takes to achieve a result, but when it does, the consumer is usually the main beneficiary.