Russia’s trade associations have filed a request to the country’s antitrust authority on bringing action against international payment systems Visa and Mastercard over alleged abuse of market power in Russia.
The appeal was brought by a group of trade societies, including the Association of Internet Trade Companies, the Retail Companies Association (ACORT), and the Association of Trading Companies and Manufacturers of Electrical Household and Computer Equipment, according to the Federal Antimonopoly Service, as cited by TASS.
The complaint is reportedly focused on interchange fees set by the payment systems.
An interchange fee is a sum paid by the lender servicing a trade outlet to the lender that issued the card, which is used by clientele of a shop. The extent of payment is commonly defined by transaction amount, and depends on the type of trade outlet and rank of the card. Card issuers usually outweigh the costs of issuing and servicing its cards, customer loyalty programs, and new services at the expense of that commission.
According to the applicants, interchanging comprises the largest component of the fees that most merchants pay for the privilege of accepting credit cards, representing up to 70 percent of these fees. The applicant party also said that the payment systems set various tariffs for interchanging in different retail outlets, which is seen as trade discrimination. The amount of the payment is also too high and unreasonable in the context of a developed retail market.
Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the government and the Central Bank of Russia to adopt measures to decrease commissions charged by banks for noncash transfers.