The UK’s Payment Systems Regulator is to probe the card charges imposed by Visa and Mastercard, focusing on the post-Brexit jump in processing fees and cross-border transaction levies.
“Since the UK left the EU, Visa and Mastercard have increased these fees fivefold,” the watchdog said in a statement on Tuesday.
It added that it was seeking to “understand the rationale behind these increases and whether they are an indication that the market is not working well”.
Mastercard and Visa process almost all debit and credit card payments in the UK.
The cap on transaction fees between the UK and Europe was removed after Britain left the EU, which permitted card operators to increase cross-border payment charges.
Natalie Timan, PSR’s head of strategy, said the probes would help the watchdog “understand whether card payments are working well and to make sure that merchants, and ultimately consumers, get a good deal”.
The outcome of the probes will “inform any decisions on the steps we might need to take to promote effective competition or to address any harm”, she added.