The European Commission has published the final report of its competition inquiry into the retail banking sector. The inquiry has found a number of competition concerns in the markets for payment cards (Visa, MasterCard, etc), payment systems and retail banking products. Particular indicators are: (i) large variations in merchant and interchange fees for payment cards, (ii) barriers to entry in the markets for payment systems and credit registers, (iii) obstacles to customer mobility, and (iv) product tying. The Commission intends to use its powers under the competition rules to tackle any serious abuses, working closely with national competition authorities. The outcome of the inquiry is intended to promote competition in retail banking as part of the run-up to the creation of the Single Euro Payment Area.
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