Published On: June 13th, 2023 / By / 2.5 min read /

Global payment giants Visa and Mastercard have recently managed to temporarily thwart a new series of lawsuits pertaining to fees charged to retailers. On a Thursday hearing, a London tribunal ruled that the proposed collective cases brought by Commercial and Interregional Card Claims (CICC) are not eligible to proceed at this time[1]. The decision highlights the importance of closely monitoring interchange fees and illustrates how Payment Brokers can play a pivotal role in assisting businesses in understanding and managing these costs.

Interchange Fees and the Lawsuits

Interchange fees are costs that merchants must pay whenever a customer makes a purchase using a credit or debit card. In this particular case, CICC, a special purpose vehicle, launched a series of lawsuits against Visa and Mastercard, alleging that these companies had overcharged merchants on interchange fees.

CICC sought to have its cases certified under the United Kingdom’s collective proceedings regime, akin to the class action regime in the United States. However, the Competition Appeal Tribunal refused to certify the cases but allowed CICC an eight-week window to amend the lawsuits should they wish to continue.

Visa and Mastercard already have a long history of facing lawsuits over these interchange fees in London, with hundreds of claimants bringing cases before the Competition Appeal Tribunal[1][3]. Visa’s lawyers argued that more than 2,300 UK claimants are currently suing Visa, with many being small businesses having a turnover of less than 5 million pounds[3].

Mastercard welcomed the tribunal’s decision, commenting that they believe the claim to be fundamentally flawed. According to a spokesperson, the lawsuits are more about lawyers and financial backers making money than helping businesses[1]. Visa declined to comment on the ruling.

The Importance of Monitoring Rates

It’s crucial for merchants to be vigilant in monitoring interchange fees because these costs can significantly impact their bottom line. This is especially true for small businesses that operate on slim margins. The fees are typically a small percentage of a transaction but can add up quickly, especially for high-volume businesses.

Understanding and negotiating these fees can be a complicated process for merchants, given the various rates and rules associated with different types of cards and transactions.

How Payment Brokers Can Help

Payment Brokers can be instrumental in helping businesses navigate the complex landscape of interchange fees. They offer specialized knowledge and expertise in payment processing, helping businesses to understand the costs involved and ensuring that they are not being overcharged.

Moreover, Payment Brokers can negotiate on behalf of businesses to secure more favorable rates, and provide ongoing monitoring services to ensure that rates stay competitive. This not only helps businesses save money but also allows them to focus on their core operations without the worry of unexpected costs.

For merchants, it is essential to keep abreast of developments in cases like those against Visa and Mastercard. Such cases could potentially lead to changes in interchange fee structures, which in turn could affect their expenses. Payment Brokers can be vital partners in this effort, offering the expertise needed to keep costs in check.

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