Visa/MC Interchange Fee Settlement
MCAG is a class action settlement expert, who can streamline the filing process and secure recoveries from the "Visa/MasterCard Settlement" [In re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation | MDL No. 1720] ("Settlement").
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 approved $5+ billion 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. Please contact MCAG if you are interested in enrolling your business in MCAG's service for this settlement.
Disclaimer: The Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed approval of the settlement and returned the case to the District Court on June 30, 2016. Litigation is ongoing. No claim forms are available at this time, and no claim-filing deadline exists. If another settlement is reached, 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.
The lawsuit, which was originally granted approval on December 13, 2013, claims that merchants paid excessive fees (interchange fees) for accepting Visa and MasterCard because of an alleged conspiracy among the Defendants. It also claims that merchants had to follow unfair rules that limited their ability to steer customers to other payment methods.
The Settlement, which has a total fund of $7.25 billion that is spread across two funds, the Cash Fund, and Interchange Fund (see notes below for further detail on the amount of money available to the Class), is meant to reimburse all merchants that accepted Visa and MasterCard purchases between January 1, 2004 and November 28, 2012.
Cash Fund: was $6.05 billion, net amount after attorney fees, admin fees, and reduction to account for merchants who excluded themselves is approximately $4 billion. Evaluation of claims for this fund will be based on a merchant's historical Visa/MasterCard transaction data, from January 1, 2004 – November 28, 2012.
Interchange Fund: net amount is approximately $1 billion. Evaluation of claims for this fund will be based on a merchant's Visa/MasterCard transaction data from July 29, 2013 – March 29, 2014. Please note, merchants had to accept Visa or MasterCard payments prior to November 28, 2012 to be eligible to participate in the Settlement and this fund.
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 industry expert in settlement assistance and recovery, having distributed hundreds of millions in cash to clients from its Settlement Recovery Service. The value of MCAG’s service is proven by MCAG clients recovering an average of 44% more than claimants who were not represented by MCAG from a recent national class action settlement.
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 wish to use MCAG’s services, it is advised that you do file a claim on your own. If you do not file a valid and timely claim, you will not recover any money from the settlement.
If you do submit a claim on your own and you wish to support your claim with data dating back to 2004 it is expected that you will need to contact your processor to request this data. Your processor may charge a fee for historical data associated with this Settlement.
If you do not complete and return the Enrollment Form 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 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.
Yes, under the terms of the Settlement, class members are eligible to submit a claim against both the Cash Fund and the Interchange Fund. If you enroll your business/organization in MCAG's Settlement Recovery Service, then MCAG will submit a claim on your behalf to both the Cash Fund and the Interchange Fund.
All merchants, even those who excluded themselves by May 28, 2013 and those that do not make a valid filing into or recovery from the settlement, will benefit from the “Rules changes” portion of the Settlement.
These changes allow for a merchant:
- to charge an extra fee to all customers who pay with Visa or MasterCard branded credit cards, with some restrictions as to the amounts,
- to charge a surcharge on a particular Visa or MasterCard credit card product, such as Visa Signature,
- to offer discounts or other financial incentives at the point of sale to customers who do not pay with Visa or MasterCard cards, and
- to set a $10 minimum purchase for Visa and MasterCard credit cards.
These changes, and others, went into effect on January 27, 2013.
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.
MCAG is not the Settlement/Class Administrator. For additional information on the case, the Settlement, filing a claim on your own, and your rights from the Class Administrator, please visit the Official Court-authorized settlement website at www.paymentcardsettlement.com.
If you do submit a claim on your own and you wish to support your claim with your own records dating back to 2004 it is expected that you will need to contact your credit card processor(s) to request this data, and your processor(s) may charge you a fee to provide this historical data.
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.