About The Suit

The dispute started over interchange fees… but grew.

It’s one of the largest private antitrust settlements in history – more than $6 billion dollars. What was it all about?

Interchange Fees – the small fee collected by card-issuing banks each time a merchant accepts a payment.

Can You Imagine Shopping Without Credit Cards? Probably Not.

Credit card networks amplify consumer purchasing power and eliminate all sorts of headaches for merchants.

Given the value that card associations like Visa, MasterCard and the banks supporting them have created, you would expect that they should earn quite a bit.

While merchants are hard-pressed to argue that card associations shouldn’t earn anything, they are deeply concerned about the interchange fees and the fact that those fees keep rising.

With this recent suit, merchants claimed that Visa, MasterCard, and card-issuing banks have been colluding to set the interchange fees too high. By 2005, a number of merchants had filed separate lawsuits claiming that the card associations were engaging in unfair practices.

Because the complaints in these various cases were essentially the same, they were consolidated into a single legal action called In re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation, No. 05-MD-1720-JG-JO (E.D.N.Y.) (MDL 1720).

The Merchants Perspective

Merchants, represented by 19 named plaintiffs in the consolidated lawsuit, came to see the problem of runaway interchange fees as being rooted in the way card associations and issuing banks did business.

The merchants claimed that various practices and actions of Visa, MasterCard, and issuing banks amounted to violations of the Sherman Act, the Clayton Act, California’s Cartwright Act and the New York Uniform Fraudulent Conveyance Act. Learn more

How Visa, MasterCard and the Banks See It

The defendants in this case were Visa, MasterCard and a number of issuing banks.

These defendants argued that merchants underrate the value of accepting card payments as part of transacting business, and that merchants are not nearly as constrained by network rules as they claim to be. 

The card associations and banks simply denied that there has been any violation of antitrust rules in the way they operate, and also denied that there was any fraudulent conveyance of stock during the IPO process. Learn more

Disclaimer: You can file yourself without using a claims recovery service like Brownstone by going to www.paymentcardsettlement.com or calling 1-800-625-6440. Claim forms are being delivered and are available online beginning December 1, 2023. Class members need not sign up for a third-party service in order to participate in any monetary relief. No-cost assistance is available from the Class Administrator and Class Counsel during the claims-filing period. Additional information regarding the litigation, is available at http://www.paymentcardsettlement.com.