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MasterCard Appeal on Card Fees to Be Heard by EU Court on July 4

MasterCard Inc.’s challenge at the European Union’s highest court seeking to overturn an EU decision that the company’s cross-border card fees breach antitrust rules will be heard next month.

The EU Court of Justice set July 4 as the date for the oral hearing in the case, according to a filing on the court’s website today. The case at the Luxembourg-based court may affect the future of card-payment systems in Europe. MasterCard lost a first court appeal and in August took its fight to the top EU court.

The EU General Court, the bloc’s second-highest, last year backed the European Commission’s 2007 decision that MasterCard’s levies unfairly inflated the transaction fees paid by retailers for processing payments. The second-biggest card network, supported by banks including HSBC Holdings Plc and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, previously argued that the so-called multilateral interchange fees are crucial for sharing the costs of debit and credit card payments.

The Brussels-based commission started a new probe into Purchase, New York-based MasterCard this year, looking at bank fees on foreign card payments such as when tourists go shopping in the 27-nation bloc. The levies -- and other possible practices including higher fees for traders accepting so-called premium cards aimed at affluent customers -- may be anti-competitive, slowing down cross-border business and harming customers through higher prices, the commission said in April.

The case is: C-382/12 P MasterCard and Others v. Commission.

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