National Restaurant Association Says No to Swipe Fee Settlement

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National Restaurant Association Says No to Swipe Fee Settlement


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The National Restaurant Association (NRA), one of the 19 named class plaintiffs in the antitrust lawsuit filed by merchants against Visa, MasterCard and big banks over credit card swipe fees, has joined NACS and other fellow plaintiffs in opposing the proposed settlement.

"After careful and deliberative considerations, the National Restaurant Association Board of Directors' Executive Committee decided unanimously to reject the proposed settlement agreement on interchange swipe fees," announced Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the NRA, the leading business association for the restaurant industry. "There is strong concern that the proposed settlement agreement will not achieve the litigation's most critical goal -- to fundamentally change a broken marketplace in which swipe fees are set."

On July 13, the proposed settlement agreement between the plaintiffs -- six trade associations and 13 individual companies -- and the defendants -- Visa, MasterCard and many large U.S. banks -- was announced and filed in federal district court.

In addition to NACS and now the NRA, other plaintiffs opposing the settlement include the Retail Industry Leaders Association, National Grocers Association, National Cooperative Grocers Association and National Community Pharmacists Association.

As for the NRA's decision, Sweeney said without meaningful reform, there is concern that restaurateurs -- many of whom are small businesses -- will continue to be negatively impacted by "the unfair, non-transparent system that exists today."

"The current payments system is so convoluted, the average restaurateur has no idea exactly what they are paying and why they are paying large amounts to accept credit and debit cards, which are necessary in today's marketplace. The proposed settlement does not address those issues," she stated.

"Restaurateurs also have no ability to negotiate fees or terms of card acceptance, and after digging into the details of the proposed agreement, we have serious concerns that rather than correct those fundamental flaws, it cements those flaws for decades to come."