A PYMNTS Company

US: Judge backs $31M settlement over credit, debit card tying

 |  November 4, 2014

An appeals court has upheld a $31 million settlement proposed by Visa and MasterCard to end litigation accusing the companies of unfairly forcing retailers to take both credit and debit cards.

According to reports, a 2000 class action filed in California sued the companies for alleged anticompetitive policies that apply to their debit and credit cards. Among those policies that were challenged were Visa and MasterCard’s requirement that retailers take both debit and credit cards, which plaintiffs argued constituted illegal tying.

The class action was filed after a 1996 lawsuit was launched by a group of retailers over similar claims. The case was settled officially in 2005.

The 2000 case was met with additional class actions, some challenging Visa and MasterCard’s swipe-fees. The cases were consolidated, and another class action was filed in 2004 against Visa and MasterCard’s policy that barred retailers from accepting rival payment cards.

The credit card companies settled the cases for $31 million, an offer that was approved in 2010. But, according to reports, that approval was challenged on grounds that the 2004 class action should not have been taken into account when clearing the settlement.

An appeals court in 2012 determined that the original decision to approve the $31 million settlement did not properly determine whether the terms of the settlement compensated for the 2004 class action claims.

A revised settlement offer was submitted in April 2013; now, reports say the new settlement has been cleared. Exact details of the revisions were unclear, but reports say the settlement remains at $31 million.

Full content: Top Class Actions

Want more news? Subscribe to CPI’s free daily newsletter for more headlines and updates on antitrust developments around the world.