BRUSSELS: Landmark Ruling Against Mastercard After 20-Years of Payment Fees ‘

#AceFinanceNews – BRUSSELS – September 12 – Mastercard has lost its legal battle with the European Commission over payment fees following a ruling by the European Court of Justice.

Master Card loses 20 Year Battle over Payment Fees - 2014-09-11T115146Z_1_LYNXMPEA8A0JJ_RTROPTP_3_MASTERCARD_original

The verdict on Thursday (11 September) threw out the firm’s appeal against a commission decision dating back to 2007, in which the EU executive ordered Mastercard to repeal its cross-border card fees.

The fees – known as “multilateral interchange fees (MIFs)” – are paid between the banks of a retailer and customer every time someone pays for items by card. The fee is charged to the retailer’s bank who, in turn, normally factors it into the price paid by consumers.

At present, average fees range from around 0.2 percent in Denmark and the Netherlands, to over 1 percent in Germany, Hungary, and Poland, raking in around €6 billion per year to credit card giants across the bloc.

In its judgement, the EU court found that the fee structure could not be described as being “objectively necessary” as the system was “still capable of functioning without those fees.”

There was also an “absence of … appreciable objective advantages” to either retailers or consumers from the system.

The court ruling comes more than 20 years after the commission originally launched proceedings against Mastercard in 1992.

Antoine Colombini, the Commission competition spokesman, described the ruling as “a big win for European consumers who for too long have been paying unjustifiably hidden fees”.

Javier Perez, the president of Mastercard Europe said it would have “little or no impact on how MasterCard operates,” although he conceded that it was “disappointing”.

But the ruling was welcomed by consumer and retail groups.

Source: 

#AFN2014

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JAPAN: ‘ Cost of Dying Puts One Man Out of Business Making Tombstone’s ‘

#AceFinanceNews – JAPAN (Tokyo) – September 12 – Jianxing An can see he is in a dying business.

 An Jianxing, a 50 year old gravestone business owner and designer, closes the gate of his company showroom in Ibaraki prefecture, north of Tokyo September 10, 2014.  CREDIT: REUTERS/YUYA SHINO

An Jianxing, a 50 year old gravestone business owner and designer, closes the gate of his company showroom in Ibaraki prefecture, north of Tokyo September 10, 2014.
CREDIT: REUTERS/YUYA SHINO

The gravestone designer, who takes pride in works featuring musical instruments and heavenly gates, says years of shrinking

sales are driving him to close up shop in Japan and move back to his native China.

“It hasn’t been easy running a Japanese company these 18 years and I want to keep it going,” An said at his spartan office in suburban Tokyo, where the computers had already been packed up. “But the Japanese market is in decline and I’ve decided to shut down my business here and return home.”

Japan’s aging society should be a boon for Chinese craftsmen, such as An, who dominate the tombstone trade. The number of deaths each year is expected to increase by 30 percent over the next quarter century.

But more Japanese are choosing to have their ashes scattered at sea or planted under a tree, as these options are cheaper than a gravestone, which is usually the last big splurge for many people at a time of intense caution over the economy.

About 40 percent of Japanese already have a spot waiting in an ancestral grave, a survey by a tombstone industry group shows, limiting the scope for potential sales.

At the same time, a fifth or more of Japanese would consider alternative, natural burials. Price is one concern.

Source:

#AFN2014


#acefiinancenews, #ashes, #business, #china, #designer, #gravestones, #japan, #sales, #tokyo, #tombstones