Jas Jandu has advised the Payment Systems Regulator on its £1.82m enforcement fine issued today against National Westminster Bank Plc, Royal Bank of Scotland Plc, Ulster Bank Ltd and Coutts & Company. The fine was levied on the NatWest Group banks for overcharging ‘interchange fees’ on credit cards.

The regulator found that the banks had allowed certain business credit cards to be used as ‘commercial’ cards when they should have been treated as ‘consumer’ cards under the Interchange Fee Regulation. The IFR places caps on interchange fees charged on consumer card transactions, but there are no caps on commercial card transactions.

As a result of the banks’ failure to act in line with the IFR, the caps were exceeded. This led to merchants’ banks (and, ultimately, merchants) being overcharged. By exceeding the caps, the banks collectively received almost £1.2m in excess interchange fees from March 2016 to March 2018.

The banks eventually closed the card accounts and reimbursed the excess fees they had received, but the PSR concluded that the banks should have acted more swiftly to comply with the IFR. The PSR’s penalty is in addition to the amounts reimbursed by the banks. For further information see the PSR’s Press Release and the PSR Decision Notice published today.

Jas Jandu’s practice ranges from Financial Services Enforcement and Financial Crime to Commercial Litigation. As a former Commercial Litigation Solicitor & ex-FCA In-House Counsel, Jas has almost 20 years’ experience of advising and acting for UK/international corporates, individuals or public bodies on matters of English law and complex High Court litigation with an international element. For further information see Jas’s profile here.

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