MasterCard has lost a seven-year battle with the European Commission over the validity of its interchange fees for cross-border card payments, following a decisive judgement at the EU's highest court.
In December 2007, the European Commission declared the multilateral interchange fees (MIF) applied by MasterCard on cross-border card payments to be contrary to competition law.
The card scheme subsequently reached an agreement with the EU to cap its fees for cross-border transactions within the trading bloc at 0.2% for debit cards and 0.3% for credit cards while continuing to fight a rearguard legal action against the original decision.
In publishing its ruling today, the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) said a lower court verdict in 2012 upholding the European Commission's initial finding against MasterCard in 2007 was correct.
As such, it sets an awkward precedent for the card schemes and paves the way for further action from national regulators.