Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Ministry of Finance answers to MP-questions on bank fees and duopoly in SEPA

As mentioned earlier on this blog, Dutch MPs asked our Ministry of Finance to comment on the retailer statements that payment with cards would become expensive due to a duopoly for Visa and Mastercard. Yesterday, the answers were published. In broad terminology the Minister seeks to appease both retailers and banks by outlining vaguely
- that he agrees with the conclusion of the competiton enquiry that competition and interchange fees are important elements of the future banking market,
- that he indeed has a concern with prices of banks and that those should remain as low as possible in a SEPA-world,
- that however the public should be aware that in a move to make pricing more transparent (the philosophy underlying the PSD), it may look to customers that bank prices rise, while effectively they get more control and insight into the cost of their payment behaviour, allowing them to influence and their own specific fee level to lower levels than under previous pricing regimes.