The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has welcomed a vote by MEPs for an overhaul of the European payments market, which could include introducing a cap on bank fees charged to retailers for card payments.
It is thought that the caps could be set at 0.2 per cent and 0.3 per cent for debit and credit cards respectively, and that rules which force retailers to accept all card types regardless of cost could be scrapped.
In a statement, the BRC said: “The European Parliament has sent a clear message that the time for reform has come.
“The parliament’s decision will undoubtedly benefit consumers and small businesses. As the most competitive sector, retail competes on price and value every day and a reduction in fees will create capital to invest in the consumer offer. It will also benefit small business who have invariably been paying the highest fees.”
The vote is not binding, but provides a mandate for the European Council to throw its weight behind reforms. The BRC said it also provides impetus for the creation of a domestic payment regulator in the UK.
Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC, said: “This is important and positive vote by European politicians. Retailers welcome a clear message that the time for change has come.
“This sends a strong signal to Council and the UK Government to support a more competitive payments system for the benefit of businesses and consumers.”