BRUSSELS, Belgium – Visa Europe Ltd. may receive an antitrust complaint from European Union regulators over credit card fees, the EU’s competition commissioner said.

Visa Europe last year reduced similar fees for debit cards to settle a 2009 EU complaint. Earlier this month an EU official said he hoped the operator of the largest payment card network in the 27-nation EU would reduce cross-border fees for credit cards and deferred-debit transactions to the same level as MasterCard. He said in May total costs retailers face to handle payments have not decreased since 2006.

The probe comes as Visa, MasterCard and some of the biggest U.S. banks have agreed to a U.S. settlement of at least $7.25 billion in a price-fixing case brought by retailers over credit card swipe fees.

Retailers have long complained about the costs they are charged to accept card payments. Card operators such as Visa and MasterCard set the amounts, own the payment networks and pass the money to the lenders. The retailer’s bank pays the fees to the customer’s card issuer.


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