terminals are currently in place. Germany has a high degree of cash usage despite wide card acceptance because consumers prefer to shop with cash withdrawn from ATMs rather than cards. Greece and Italy are cash heavy markets with large ‘grey economies’. In contrast, the UK has a very different payments structure where credit card transactions are relatively popular. There is wide variation across European countries in e-commerce development, the deployment of new and innovative payments features like contactless, the electronification of low value payments and the development of mobile payments. They all require unique and flexible levels of interchange to ensure each progresses towards a unified market. This diversity in interchange fee levels represents flexibility rather than fragmentation.
payment markets to an advanced level faster than would be the case with a one size fits all approach. Given the current diversity and complexity of the European payments landscape, adopting a ‘one size fits all’ too early will make true unification more difficult to achieve. Moreover, it will put at risk the continued evolution and improvement of payments throughout the EU. For the foreseeable future, interchange must be allowed to be flexible enough to suit the different needs of all Member States as their systems evolve.
Neither does this flexible approach to interchange pose a barrier to the internal market. Any MasterCard or Maestro card issued in one Member State can be used in any ATM or point of sale in any of the other 26 Member States and the rights and obligations of cardholders and retailers are identical across the EU. This flexible approach to interchange creates a unified EU payments market by driving less mature OECD Yearbook 2012 © OECD 2012
2012 OECD Yearbook