VISA under investigation for anti-competitive behaviour

Article by Kevin Boyle

Global payments giant VISA has been accused by the ACCC for using it's market power to limit dynamic currency conversion for credit card payments in Australia.

When in Australia, overseas credit card holders are denied the option of converting a purchase into their home currency. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission argues that a lack of transparency forces consumers into a locked conversion rate. The act removes the oppertunity for merchants and banks to provide competitive rates, reports

"The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is concerned that VISA sought to stop the growth of competing dynamic currency conversion services and, as a result, limit the choices available to consumers," ASIC chairman Rob Sims said. 

It's also alleged that VISA denied ANZ and Westpac permission to offer the dynamic conversion service at ATM's, according to a statement of claim lodged with the Federal Court in New South Wales.

VISA are denying the allegations, "VISA has co-operated fully with the investigation by the ACCC and we strongly reject allegations that our rules on dynamic currency conversion services infringe Australia's competition laws," spokeswomen Zoe Hibbert said.

It is believed that the tourism industry, companies providing conversion and merchant service and tourists themselves would have been the most affected by the alleged misconduct.

Although VISA are currently only under investigation in Australia, the results could provoke similar investigations world wide where VISA has exhibited the same restrictions on credit card merchants.

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