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Statement on card schemes subject to domestic interchange fee caps in the UK

Published 24 03 2016

In December 2015 we published a provisional view on whether certain UK three-party card schemes qualified for an exemption on the interchange fee caps introduced by the Interchange Fee Regulation (IFR).

Specifically we considered whether American Express, the only scheme operating in the UK that could qualify for an exemption, could indeed be exempted.

At the time, given American Express’ market share was above the 3% market share threshold, our provisional view was that it could not be exempted. American Express and any payment service providers participating in its scheme therefore had to comply with the interchange fee caps on UK domestic transactions until 31 March 2016.

We also stated that we would revisit this decision once we had received further transactional information and we had made further headway on our IFR guidance.

That process is now complete. 

Our final conclusion is that American Express was above the 3% market share threshold between 9 September 2014 and 8 September 2015. This means that American Express and the payment service providers participating in its scheme were subject to the interchange fee caps UK domestic transactions between 9 December 2015 and 31 March 2016.

We also confirm today that American Express’ market share was above 3% during 2015.  This means that it must comply with the interchange fee caps from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017.

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