The Commission has fined Visa €10.2 million for repeatedly refusing membership into the Visa organization to Morgan Stanley between March 2000 and September 2006. According to the Commission, Visa effectively prevented Morgan Stanley from entering the market for the provision of credit card acceptance services for merchants in the United Kingdom (the so-called “acquiring market”). The Commission’s investigation revealed that Visa’s transactions represented 60 percent of the UK acquiring market and that UK retailers expected banks to offer card acceptance contracts for both Visa and MasterCard.
In a related decision, the Commission ruled that the French Groupement des Carte Bancaires (CB) engaged in restrictive practices by adopting pricing measures aimed at preventing certain member banks from issuing credit cards in France at competitive rates. The measures condemned – charges imposed on CB members based on the number of cards issued – had the effect of restricting competition among French banks and of keeping prices of payment cards artificially high. The Commission decided not to impose fines, but ordered CB to cease the condemned practices and to avoid taking similar measures in the future.