Visa and MasterCard Face Further Interchange Suit

A collection of around 30 US retailers, including Amazon and 7-Eleven, have filed a lawsuit against Visa and MasterCard in the latest round of an on-going battle between card schemes and US merchants over interchange fees.

Years of wrangling culminated last summer in US retailers reaching a US$7.25bn class action settlement with the card schemes but thousands of companies have subsequently pulled out of the accord.

According to a report by Bloomberg, one group of retailers has now filed a new complaint, arguing that “once Visa and MasterCard acquired substantial market power over merchants, they maintained it by forcing merchants to pay even higher interchange fees to continue to fund these price-fixing schemes.”

A spokeswoman for lobbying group the Electronic Payments Coalition was quoted by Bloomberg as responding that the “tired arguments” had already been covered and had they had “any merit or strength, they would have been included in the final settlement”.

Other suits from groups of retailers are also in progress, while Visa has responded by launching its own litigation against Wal-Mart for rejecting the initial settlement.

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