Visa and Mastercard Agree to Cap Merchant Fees for European Tourists

December 6, 2018, Written By John H. Oldshue
Visa and Mastercard Agree to Cap Merchant Fees for European Tourists

Visa and Mastercard agreed to cap the fees charged on card payments made by tourists in the European Union in an effort to avoid fines and investigations. The European Commission says the current fee structure ultimately hurts the consumer because merchants have to increase their prices to make up for the fees.

Under the new structure, EU cards and non-EU cards will carry the same interchange fee, which is the fee merchants pay every time they process a card. Previously, tourist cards carried a higher interchange fee. Now, non-EU debit cards will have a 0.2% fee, and non-EU credit cards will have a 0.3% fee for in-person purchases.

EU interchange fees were scrutinized for years after a lobby group called EuroCommerce made a complaint in 1997. The group approves of the new offer from Visa and Mastercard, but they do not agree with the structure for online purchases.

While offline fees remain low, online fees for debit cards will be 1.15%, and fees for credit cards will be 1.5%. The credit card issuers argue the extra fees are due to the risks associated with online transactions. But EuroCommerce says they “cannot understand why merchants should be charged more for a perceived risk which can only arise by the card issuers’ failure to implement adequate fraud prevention measures.”

The European Commission is expected to make their final decision in approximately one month.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of December 6, 2018. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.

About John H. Oldshue

John Oldshue is the creator of He worked for over 15 years in television and won an Emmy award for his reporting. He covers credit card rate issues for
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