The British Retail Consortium has claimed a victory in its battle against MasterCard over the membership fee banks must pay to the card scheme.

The BRC says that MasterCard has dropped the fee – and the BRC wants to see banks passing these savings on to their retailer customers.

The BRC was a strong critic of the fee when it was introduced las October, arguing that banks would pass the charge on to retailers. It estimates that the scrapping of the scheme fees will save banks £15 million a year.

BRC Brussels director Alisdair Gray said: “I’m delighted MasterCard has acknowledged its scheme fees are unjustifiable and decided to drop them. I urge the banks to pass on the full cost savings that will result onto retailers, so hard-pressed customers can benefit.

However, he added that there is more lobbying work He said: “Given MasterCard’s action, Visa must also confirm it has no intention of imposing scheme fees of its own.

Gray continued: “This is only the first step. Interchange fees are the subject of European Union legal action and an Office of Fair Trading (OFT) examination. I hope MasterCard’s announcement leads to a speedy resolution of the European cross border interchange fee investigation and the OFT brings forward its Statement of Objections for charges on UK transactions.”

The BRC wants to see the card schemes introduce a new charging system that is both transparent and levies fixed fees per transaction, rather than on a percentage basis.