This summer, the courts dismissed a $7.25 billion antitrust settlement between millions of retailers and the Visa and MasterCard associations. The dispute began in 2005 when retailers claimed that Visa and MasterCard were barring them from allowing customers to use cheaper payment forms at checkout and charging unnecessarily high processing fees.
What would have been the largest all-cash antitrust settlement in U.S. history was dismissed over improper legal representation and organization of the plaintiffs. After more than a decade, the settlement could either be renegotiated or go to trial, putting the structure of interchange fees back up for debate.
What happens next is uncertain. Will the regulation changes associated with surcharging and convenience fees be modified now that the lawsuit is dismissed? Will there be a new lawsuit brought against the card associations to secure fee reductions? Will the government intervene in payment processing again as it did in the Durbin Amendment? Only time will tell. MSP will continue to monitor the industry and keep our clients informed as this story develops.