European Commission opens preliminary investigation into Visa’s staged digital wallet rules

The European Commission has opened a preliminary investigation into Visa’s rules regarding staged digital wallets, the payments network has revealed in a note added to its latest quarterly filing.

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“On June 26, 2020, the European Commission (‘EC’) informed Visa that it has opened a preliminary investigation into Visa’s rules regarding staged digital wallets and issued a request for information regarding such rules,” the note says. “Visa is cooperating with the EC.”

The European Commission’s move follows criticism over fees and concerns about safeguarding against fraud and money laundering, The Times reports.

“Visa is being investigated by the European Commission over its rules on electronic money providers, after allegations that the giant payments group has behaved in an anti-competitive way,” the newspaper says.

“There are also concerns among regulators that some financial technology startups are pushing the rules too far through a desire to offer ultra-speedy payments to customers, making it difficult for Visa to check for money laundering, according to industry insiders.”

Visa introduced additional fees for staged digital wallets in April 2017 after backing Mastercard’s move to increase its fees in March 2013.