Published On: June 13th, 2023 / By / 2 min read /

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan recently upheld a significant $5.6 billion antitrust class-action settlement involving Visa and MasterCard. The case was brought forward by over 12 million retailers who accused the credit card giants of fixing credit and debit card fees improperly[1]. Such a substantial settlement underscores the necessity for businesses to monitor payment rates vigilantly.

The Settlement in Detail

The retailers argued that Visa and MasterCard overcharged them on interchange fees, commonly known as swipe fees, whenever customers made purchases using credit or debit cards. Additionally, the companies were accused of barring retailers from guiding customers towards more cost-effective payment alternatives[1][3].

Although some gas station operators and oil companies, including Chevron and Shell, objected to the settlement, Circuit Judge Dennis Jacobs declared their dispute to be irrelevant in delaying payouts to other members of the class-action lawsuit[2]. The settlement precludes retailers from making further claims for a duration encompassing 15 years retroactively from the class period and five years post the settlement’s finalization[1].

The Importance of Monitoring Payment Rates

This landmark case illustrates the critical importance of closely monitoring payment rates for retailers. By keeping an eye on the rates they are being charged, retailers can ensure that they are not paying excessively in fees, which can have a significant impact on their bottom line. Moreover, understanding the rates and associated terms can enable retailers to make informed decisions, such as steering customers towards more affordable payment options.

The Role of Payment Brokers

Given the complexity of payment processing and the potential for abuses as demonstrated by many of these cases, Payment Brokers can play a vital role in aiding retailers.  By leveraging their industry knowledge, Payment Brokers can help retailers secure more favorable terms and lower fees. Additionally, they can provide retailers with ongoing monitoring and analytics to ensure that they are consistently receiving the most competitive rates and identify new opportunities for savings. Through these measures, Payment Brokers can safeguard retailers from the kind of malpractices evidenced in many of the cases brought againts the payments industry.

Looking Ahead

With Visa having revealed its cooperation with a Justice Department investigation concerning U.S. debit cards and competition with other payment methods and networks, it is evident that the industry remains under scrutiny[3]. Retailers must remain vigilant, and consider employing the services of Payment Brokers to safeguard their interests and ensure the sustainability of their operations in an environment that continues to evolve.

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