Visa/MC Interchange Fee Settlement

News was released on September 18, 2018 stating that Visa, MasterCard, and the Defendant Banks have officially reached a new settlement on interchange fees. Definitive terms and timing of a finally approved agreement and claims process are to be determined, but we anticipate having some clarity on those items in the next few months.  

Stay tuned, as we continue our research and due diligence in preparation for filing claims on behalf of our clients. The following information is based on materials contained in the proposed settlement agreement filed on September 18, 2018 with the Court.


Overview

In re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation | MDL No. 1720

Settlement Fund:            $6.26 billion
Settlement Period:          January 1, 2004 - TBD
Claim Filing Deadline:     TBD


The lawsuit claims that merchants paid excessive interchange fees for accepting Visa and MasterCard because of an alleged conspiracy among the Defendants, and that merchants had to follow unfair rules that limited their ability to steer customers to other payment methods.

If your business accepted Visa or MasterCard payments between January 1, 2004 and November 28, 2012, you may be eligible to recover significant funds from this pending Settlement. Although the claim forms are not yet available and the filing deadline for claim submission has not been announced, you can engage MCAG now to ensure that a proper and timely claim is filed on behalf of your business.


Payment Card Interchange Fee Settlement Disclaimer: The Rule 23(b)(3) Class Plaintiffs have reached a proposed settlement in this action. Materials reflecting this proposed settlement were filed September 18, 2018 with the Court. No claim forms are available at this time, and no claim-filing deadline exists. If the settlement is approved, no-cost assistance will be available from the Class Administrator and Class Counsel during any claims-filing period. No one is required to sign up with any third-party service in order to participate in any settlement. For additional information regarding the status of the litigation, interested persons may visit www.paymentcardsettlement.com, the Court-approved website for this case.

This lawsuit is principally about the interchange fees attributable to merchants that accepted Visa or Mastercard credit or debit cards between January 1, 2004 and the yet to be determined Settlement Preliminary Approval Date, and Visa’s and Mastercard’s rules for merchants that have accepted those cards.

When a cardholder makes a purchase with a credit or debit card, there is an interchange fee charged to the merchant. This fee is usually 1% to 2% of the purchase price. Interchange fees typically account for the greatest part of the fees paid by merchants for accepting Visa and MasterCard.

Visa and MasterCard set interchange fee rates for different kinds of transactions and publish these rates on their websites, usually twice a year.

MCAG is an expert at identifying and recovering non-traditional high margin revenue for all types of organizations from class action settlements. We have experience and credibility in getting the most for your claim with the least effort on your part.

As part of its comprehensive services, MCAG will:

  • Acquire as much of the historical data applicable to the settlement as possible,
  • Fill out all of the necessary documentation,
  • Submit a claim for the maximum reimbursement,
  • Negotiate with the Settlement Administrator,
  • Reconcile returns on behalf of our clients, and
  • Distribute net recoveries from the settlement funds.

All of these services are performed on a contingent fee basis – if there is no recovery, there will be no fee.

If you do not file a valid and timely claim, or have a claim filed on your behalf by an authorized third party filing agent like MCAG, then you will not recover any money from the settlement.

If you do not complete and return the Enrollment Form / Recovery Service Agreement to MCAG prior to the settlement’s filing deadline (which is yet to be determined by the Court), then MCAG will not file a claim in to this settlement on your behalf. Therefore, you must file a claim on your own or through another authorized 3rd party filing agent like MCAG if you wish to receive compensation from this settlement.

MCAG works on a contingent fee basis so MCAG retains a portion of your settlement recovery amount. If your business is not entitled to a settlement recovery, then MCAG will not charge a fee.

If you did not process with your current credit card processor all the way back to 2004, you can help MCAG in supplementing your history for the entire claim period. This information can be provided when you submit your Enrollment Form.

Class members are not required to sign up for a third-party service in order to participate in any monetary relief from this settlement. Also, the Court wants to communicate that no-cost assistance will be available from the Class Administrator and Class Counsel during the claims-filing period.  You may file into the settlement on your own by following the steps outlined in the claim form that you will receive from the Class Administrator.

This is a fixed-fund settlement, and since we expect that the Settlement will be oversubscribed, all submissions will be pro rata reduced. At this time, there is no way to accurately estimate your return.

An oversubscribed fund means that the amount of funds submitted by the class as valid claims will be greater than the total funds available to be distributed to the class from the Settlement.

For example, if the total Settlement Fund = $5 billion and the total amount of valid claims submitted = $125 billion, then the payout from the Settlement will be a pro rata portion of each $1.00 submitted as claim.  In this example, where $125 billion in claims is submitted to a $5 billion fund, each claimant would receive a gross payout of $0.04 for every $1.00 of valid claims submitted.