$6 Billion Visa/MasterCard Settlement

Credit card securityBCMS strives to go the extra mile to save you money. We want you to know what you’re getting at what cost and we look for ways to increase your bottom line. As a merchant, you need to know about the new $6 billion Visa/MasterCard settlement. The Federal Court has preliminarily approved a proposed $6+ billion settlement in a class action lawsuit, called In re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 1720 (JG)(JO). The lawsuit is about claims that merchants paid excessive fees to accept Visa and MasterCard cards because Visa and MasterCard, individually, and together with their respective member banks, violated the antitrust laws.

The monetary portion of the settlement consists of two funds. The first is a cash fund in the amount of $6.05 billion that will pay valid claims of any person, business, or other entity that accepted Visa or MasterCard branded credit or debit cards in the U.S. between January 1, 2004 and November 28, 2012. The second fund is estimated to be up to approximately $1.2 billion in total and is equivalent to a portion of the interchange fees attributable to merchants that do not exclude themselves from the Rule 23(b) Settlement Class (“Cash Settlement Class”) and that accepted Visa and MasterCard credit cards during an eight-month period to begin by July 29, 2013. This fund will pay valid claims of members of the Cash Settlement Class that accepted Visa or MasterCard credit cards during the eight-month period.

The settlement will also require Visa and MasterCard to change some rules for merchants who accept their cards, including to allow merchants to do the following:

  • Charge customers an extra fee if they pay with Visa or MasterCard credit cards,
  • Offer discounts to customers who pay with payment forms less expensive than Visa or MasterCard credit or debit cards,
  • Accept Visa or MasterCards at fewer than all of the merchant’s trade names or banners, and
  • Form “buying groups” that meet certain criteria to negotiate with Visa and MasterCard

For full terms of the settlement and to make a claim, please visit www.paymentcardsettlement.com or call (800) 625-6440.

*BCMS and Elavon are not parties of this lawsuit.