Mastercard Must Pay Sainsbury’s £68M

Source: Competition Policy International

The U.K.’s Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) has denied Mastercard’s bid to appeal its July judgment awarding U.K. grocery chain Sainsbury’s Supermarkets damages of more than £68 million in its suit over the credit card company’s interchange fees.

Sainsbury’s won its claim against Mastercard in September, with the CAT ruling the payment processor must pay it £68.5m in damages. The ruling was the first major interchange fee decision in the competition court.

The claims follow a U.S. settlement in 2012 in which Visa and Mastercard agreed to pay U.S. retailers $7.25 billion — the largest antitrust settlement in U.S. history.

The U.K. litigation was also sparked by a 2007 EU regulatory ruling accusing Mastercard of artificially inflating fees and overcharging retailers on cross-border card transactions. The U.K. government subsequently launched a consultation on interchange fee caps, which will come into force in the new year.

Now, the U.K.’s Competition Appeal Tribunal has rejected Mastercard’s application for permission to appeal the court’s July 14 judgment. This judgment found that the credit card company’s U.K. multilateral interchange fee scheme led to an anticompetitive overcharge for the customers of supermarket Sainsbury’s.

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