Consumer Class-Action Suit Against Visa, Mastercard Allowed To Go Forward

Visa, Mastercard and banks in the U.S. are facing a class-action lawsuit by consumers that allege they colluded to raise the cost of ATM access fees in what they say is a violation of antitrust law.

According to a report by Fortune, last week, the Supreme Court ruled the class-action lawsuit can move forward. The court ruled a district court was wrong when coming to the determination that consumers had no legal standing for a lawsuit and that it hadn’t showed antitrust violations. It sent it back to the district court to hear.

The justices did dismiss two cases that were related in which the companies tried to overturn a ruling from 2015 in which the U.S. Court of Appeals had allowed three lawsuits. The justices said the cases were dismissed due to the companies changing their legal arguments after they agreed to hear the case. Fortune noted the court isn’t approving of moves like that.

At the heart of the lawsuit are allegations that Visa and Mastercard embraced rules that blocked ATM operators from charging a reduced fee when ATM transactions were processed by a competing network, protecting themselves from competition from cheaper ATM networks. Banks that hold shares in Visa and Mastercard also benefited from the practices, the lawsuits contend. They want damages for both consumers and the operators of the ATMs.

This isn’t the only lawsuit Visa and Mastercard are facing due to their business practices. Home Depot launched a federal antitrust suit earlier this year in which it contends Visa and Mastercard are using security measures prone to fraud, putting retailers and customers at risk of thieves. Atlanta-based Home Depot said new payment cards with “chip” technology remain less secure in the U.S. than cards used in Europe and elsewhere in the world.