The financial troubles for Visa and MasterCard when it comes to merchant credit card swipe fees continues to take some interesting twists and turns. Over the last month, things have picked up. The original suit, filed eight years ago, was settled and approved by a federal judge, some plaintiffs are appealing and now a brand new, but similar, lawsuit has been filed.
According to a report from Law 360, nearly 30-big-name retailers have banded together to file a joint lawsuit against MasterCard and Visa claiming the card companies colluded with banks to fix credit card swipe fees. The complaint includes talk of a conspiracy that "has unreasonably restricted competition" that allowed card companies to "artificially inflate interchange fees from each plaintiff."
The businesses behind the suit include HP, Toys R Us, Bed Bath and Beyond, Forever 21 and Zipcar, to name a few. Aside from seeking reimbursement, the suit also has a goal of eliminating the targeted restraints that Visa and MasterCard imposed on retailers barring them from charging different prices based on the costs imposed by Visa and MasterCard.
"Sellers were forbidden from offering customers discounts or hitting them with surcharges based on how much it cost to process their Visa and MasterCard transactions," the article reads. "The card companies thereby hid the interchange fees they charged retailers from consumers, insulating themselves from horizontal price competition."
The focus on merchant interchange fees has never been as intense as it is right now. Retailers need to be paying attention, as this could have major ramifications on the industry.