Credit card charges to retailers could be reduced as a result of a ruling by the Office of Fair Trading that the fees are anti-competitive. Independent retailers face higher charges than multiples because of their size and stand to gain most if the provisional ruling is rubber stamped. The decision comes in the wake of a request to the OFT by MasterCard/Europay for an exemption if its charges infringed UK competition law. The OFT ruled that credit card fees agreed between the banks increase costs for retailers and the prices paid by consumers for goods and services. James Lowman, public affairs and communications manager at the Association of Convenience Stores, said that his members would welcome any reduction in card charges. He said the deal that ACS has with NatWest Streamline ranges from 1.95% on credit card transactions and 20p per debit card transaction on card business up to £20,000 a year, to respective figures of 1.3% and 16p on plastic transactions of more than £250,000 a year. {{NEWS }}