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What is the lawsuit about?

Merchants may be eligible for a refund on some interchange fees paid between Jan. 1, 2004, and Jan. 25, 2019.

The plaintiffs claim that Visa and Mastercard violated antitrust law because they set interchange fees and imposed/enforced rules that limited merchants from steering their customers to other payment methods, such as: no-surcharging rules, no-discounting rules, and honor-all-card rules. 

These rules, the suit claims, caused merchants to pay excessive interchange fees for accepting Visa and Mastercard cards.  

Why is there a settlement?

The court has not decided which side was right or wrong, or if any laws were violated. Instead, both sides have agreed to settle the case and avoid the cost and risk of a trial and appeals. 

What does the settlement mean?

Settling the case will allow merchants who file a claim to receive payment. 

Are merchants required to accept the settlement?

No. Many companies are choosing to opt out of this settlement so that they can file their own lawsuits with their own lawyers. 

Who is affected? How are they affected? 

Any merchants who accepted Visa-branded cards and/or Mastercard-branded cards in the United States any time from Jan. 1, 2004, to Jan. 25, 2019, have some options:

  1. File a claim. This is the only way for merchants to get money from the settlement. 
  2. Exclude themselves. This option is for merchants who want to be a part of a different lawsuit.
  3. Do nothing. If you do not file a claim, you will not receive any money.

How much money will the merchant get?

The amount paid from the settlement will be based on the actual or estimated interchange fees attributed to Visa and Mastercard transactions between January 2004 and January 2019. 

When will the settlement be decided?

The court has granted final approval to a settlement of $5.54 billion based on the actual or estimated interchange fees attributed to Visa and Mastercard transactions between January 2004 and January 2019. Visa and Mastercard have appealed this decision.

What can merchants do now?

Merchants can keep tabs on the suit at PaymentCardSettlement.com and file a pre-registration form if they wish.

Photo by rupixen.com on Unsplash.

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