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EU antitrust body accepts Visa's concessions lowering card fees, ends competition probe

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BRUSSELS - The European Union's antitrust authority is closing an investigation against Visa Europe after accepting the firm's offer to lower some card fees.

The EU Commission said Wednesday its concerns are sufficiently addressed by Visa's concession to cut inter-bank fees for credit card payments to 0.3 per cent of a transaction's value — a reduction of about 40 to 60 per cent.

The Commission, which acts as the 27-nation bloc's antitrust watchdog, says the company has also offered to reform its rules to facilitate competition across Europe by reducing cross-border fees between banks on credit and debit card payments.

The settlement with the EU Commission makes the concessions legally binding for Visa for five years. Violation could incur stiff fines.

Separately, the Commission continues its probe against Visa Inc. on international inter-bank fees.

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