Retailers File Swipe Fee Suit Against Visa, MasterCard

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Retailers File Swipe Fee Suit Against Visa, MasterCard


NEW YORK -- Several retailers today sued Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc, breaking off from the proposed $7.2-billion swipe fee settlement.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan by Macy's Inc., Target Corp., JC Penney Co. Inc., Kohl's Corp. and TJX Cos. -- among others -- came in advance of a May 28 deadline for merchants to either accept the proposed settlement or opt out and pursue separate legal action.

As CSNews Online previously reported, a group of 19 other retailers, including 7-Eleven Inc. and Alon Brands Inc., have already opted out of the settlement and are likewise considering separate legal actions against Visa and MasterCard. Their reasons cited were twofold.

Although the proposed settlement calls for Visa and MasterCard to temporarily reduce swipe fees -- also known as interchange rates -- by as much as $1.2 billion, both credit card providers could raise those rates again in the future, the retailers reasoned. In addition, retailers that accept the terms of the agreement could be excluded from filing lawsuits against Visa and MasterCard in the future.

Merchants who do not opt out of the proposed settlement by May 28 will be considered part of a class that accepted the deal. A hearing on final approval of the settlement is set for Sept. 12 in federal court in Brooklyn. N.Y.

Representatives for Visa and MasterCard had no immediate comment on the new lawsuit, reported Reuters.