Visa Europe Challenges EU Refusal on Debit-Card-Fee Caps

Visa Europe Ltd. challenged the European Union’s refusal to allow it to change a 2010 cap on debit-card transaction fees paid by retailers.

The European Commission’s July 31 decision to reject Visa Europe’s request should be overturned, the operator of Europe’s largest payment-card network said in an appeal to the bloc’s second-highest court. The commission violated the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights by refusing Visa Europe “the opportunity to effectively make known its views on the relevant facts.”

The commission also “committed a manifest error of assessment” by rejecting evidence by Visa Europe “on the basis of flawed considerations,” the London-based company said in its appeal, details of which were published today.

Visa Europe reduced debit-card transaction fees in 2010 as part of a settlement of a 2009 statement of objections by the EU antitrust regulator. In July, Visa Europe was sent another EU statement of objections for “possible violations of EU antitrust rules concerning multilateral interchange fees” for transactions with consumer credit cards set by the company. Visa Europe split from Visa Inc. (V) before the U.S. card company’s initial public offering in early 2008.

Visa Europe declined to comment beyond confirming it had filed the appeal.

The case is: T-447/12, Visa Europe v. Commission.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Bodoni in Luxembourg at sbodoni@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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