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Competition Office says Visa Europe report misleading

Hungary's Competition Office (GVH) has said a report in daily Népszabadság on Thursday about Visa Europe's market position in Hungary was misleading. The payment company's situation in Hungary is the result of a commitment made to the European Commission, GVH said. Népszabadság said on Thursday that Visa Europe is considering pulling out of Hungary because lower interchange fees - which translate as lower revenue for cardholders' banks - have drastically reduced business. The paper said Visa lowered its interchange fee - a fee typically paid by the retailer's bank to the cardholder's bank every time a bank or credit card is used - to 0.2% after a decision by Hungary's Competition Office to levy HUF 1.9 billion in fines for cartel activity among payments companies and banks. But competitor MasterCard - which controls more than 80% of the bank card market in Hungary - only lowered its interchange fee to 0.6%. GVH noted that Visa Europe made a commitment to the European Commission to cap the weighted average interchange fee for consumer debit card transactions at 0.2%.