Visa addresses anti-competitive conduct concerns

Visa has submitted a court enforceable undertaking following concerns that it may have engaged in anti-competitive conduct by offering certain large merchants strategic merchant rates.

The ACCC had investigated allegations that Visa AP (Australia) and Visa Worldwide Pts Limited (together, Visa) could use their strong market position to limit competition in the debit card acceptance market.

The concern was that Visa could tie the offer of cheaper strategic merchant rates for credit card transactions to a commitment from the merchant to process Visa branded dual network debit card transactions via the Visa network and not through eftpos.

Since 2017, merchants have been able to choose whether contactless payments made using a Visa branded dual-network debit card are processed by Visa or eftpos.

ACCC Chair Rod Sims, said: “The ACCC was concerned that Visa’s dealings with merchants could influence their choice of debit card network, and diminish competition between Visa and eftpos in relation to debit card acceptance.”

In its undertaking, Visa acknowledged the ACCC’s concerns but made no admission of any breach to competition laws.

Visa’s undertaking ensures that it cannot offer strategic merchant rates for credit card payments to merchants on condition that the merchant processes debit card payments through the Visa network.

It also allows merchants to make decisions about which debit card network processes Visa branded dual-network debit card payments without Visa increasing the cost of processing their Visa credit cards payments consequently.

“This undertaking is an important step to ensuring that Visa and other debit card network providers are able to compete on their merits to provide debit card acceptance services to merchants,” said Sims.

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