Greens in the European Parliament have helped secure an early Christmas present for consumers and small businesses after the European Parliament and finance ministers agreed to curb excessive payment card fees paid by many retailers. The high fees, which are passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices, have occurred as a result of a lack of competition in the payments market, dominated by Visa and MasterCard.

The new legislation, agreed following Green pressure, will bring an end to high fees for card payments. The agreement sets a maximum rate of 0.3% charge for credit card transactions and 0.2% for debit card transactions. Greens had proposed even lower caps, but the new figures are considerably lower than current rates.

Molly Scott Cato, MEP for the South West and Green Party speaker on finance, said:

“Although some loopholes have been created by intense lobbying of banks and credit cards, Greens stood their ground and resisted the powerful business lobby. The result is we have helped secure lower charges – a nice Christmas present for both consumers and small businesses. The European Parliament has defended the interests of consumers rather than the unfair profits of credit card giants and banks.”

Share