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ACCC sues Visa for obstructing competition in currency conversion

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has charged Visa, a global retail electronic payments processing network operator, for misusing market power and obstructing the development of foreign currency exchange services in the country.

In a case filed in the Federal Court, the competition watchdog charged the payment processor for breaching the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 in relation to dynamic currency conversion services (DCC).

Visa prevented the expansion of DCC to new merchant outlets in Australia and also stopped businesses from supplying such services on ATMs vying with its own currency conversion service, the complaint charged.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said Visa’s attempt to stop the growth of competing dynamic currency conversion services led to limited choices available to consumers.

During May 2010 to October 2010, Visa implemented and maintained rules that banned further expansion of the supply of DCC services on point of sale (POS) transactions on its network by rival providers.

The ACCC has sought monetary fine, declarations and costs against Visa and the other affiliated entities joined as respondents to the proceedings.