Dow Jones

BRUSSELS – The European Union Commission said Monday that it has written to Visa International objecting to its “interchange fee.”

The letter marked the start of formal proceedings against Visa for alleged restriction on competition.

The commission said that the interchange fee for international operations “amounts to a collective price agreement which is restrictive of competition.” The interchange fee amounts to around 80% of the total charges a retailer pays to its bank for each Visa transaction, the commission said.

Visa now has around one month to reply to the commission’s preliminary findings and may ask for an oral hearing to state its arguments. The commission said it hopes to reach a final decision on the interchange fee in the first half of 2001.

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