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Electronic Payments Practice

The firm has achieved massive successes in the area of antitrust e-payments issues. We secured the largest antitrust settlement in U.S. history in In Re Visa Check/MasterMoney Antitrust Litigation, a case brought by clients Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Sears Roebuck & Co., The Limited, Inc., Circuit City Stores, Inc. and Safeway, Inc. on behalf of a certified class of approximately four million retailers that were forced to accept Visa/MasterCard signature debit transactions at supra-competitive prices. The case resulted in a monetary settlement of $3.4 billion and injunctive relief of $25 billion (conservatively estimated) – after the plaintiffs class was awarded summary judgment on a number of issues and after a jury was selected.

The firm also secured the third largest antitrust settlement on behalf of its client, Discover Financial Services, Inc. Discover sued Visa and MasterCard under Sherman Act § 1 for issuing and enforcing rules that precluded their bank members from issuing Discover-branded cards. The case resulted in a monetary settlement of $2.75 billion on the eve of trial.

The firm continues to be at the forefront of payments antitrust litigation. We now represent a number of large merchants – including Wal-Mart, Costco, Best Buy, The Gap, IKEA, Starbucks and Lowe’s, among others – and several trade associations who object to the proposed class settlement in In Re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation – a settlement that violates absent class member due process rights.

The firm also represents payments players before governmental antitrust enforcers and regulators. We have represented a number of parties before the Department of Justice and state Attorneys General. We also represented the Retail Industries Leadership Association and the Merchant Payments Coalition before the Federal Reserve in connection with regulations adopted per the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act: these regulations concerned debit card transactions and debit card interchange fees.

The firm also counsels Electronic Fund Transfer Networks, Merchants, and Trade Associations on antitrust and regulatory issues raised by e-payments.

Finally, the firm often speaks and/or writes on these issues. Following are articles and presentations that the firm has authored relevant to E-Payments.

  • Visa, Returning to Old Ways, Squelches Competition in Debit
    American Banker (June 26, 2012)
    Click here to read the article.
  • Feedback: Interchange Amendments is Pro-, Not Anti-Consumer
    American Banker (May 24, 2010)
  • Hospitality Merchants at Legal Crossroads
    Lodging Hospitality (May 10, 2010)
  • Let’s End the Debit Card Fee-for-All – The Fed needs to start exercising oversight over debit card
    fees

    BusinessWeek (October 15, 2009)
    view the article
  • VIEWPOINT: Interchange Facing an Unsteady Future
    American Banker (April 2009)
  • Class Potential for Interchange Lawsuit
    American Banker (July 20, 2007)
    download PDF
  • The Visa Check/MasterMoney Antitrust Litigation: an Early Report on the Comparative Efficacy of Antitrust and Federal Reserve Intervention to Repair the Failed United States’ Debit Card Market
    N.Y.U.J.L. & BUS. (FALL 2005)
  • The Great Canadian Debit Debate
    Credit Card Management (May 2004)
    download PDF
  • Wal-Mart Decision Illustrates Merchants’ New Debit Power
    American Banker (February 6, 2004) pg 6.
    download PDF
  • E-Payment Network Directors Risk Antitrust Scrutiny
    American Banker, September 7, 2001, at 6.

Payments News Update – May 28, 2020

Posted  05/28/20
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: French Anti-Trust Watchdog Shines a Light on Fintech Finextra – May 27, 2020

France's competition authority has launched a public consultation into the fintech sector, with a focus on payment services. The payments sector is being upended by a combination of new technologies, such as mobile phones and blockchain, and new players, both fintech startups and big tech...

Payments News Update - May 21, 2020

Posted  05/21/20
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Retailers and Wholesalers Call for Urgent Amendment of Card Fees Regulation Finextra – May 18, 2020 EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren today pressed the European Commission to act on the growing problems facing retailers and wholesalers resulting from the limited scope of the Interchange Fee Regulation (IFR). He asked for firm proposals to amend...

Payments News Update - May 14, 2020

Posted  05/14/20
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: A Third Rail for Europe: SEPA Instant Payment Card Comes Into Focus PaymentsSource – May 11, 2020 (subscription required) The potential for a new card scheme throughout Europe has been a discussion point surrounding the Single Euro Payment Area since its inception more than a decade ago. A new proposal could bring this concept into reality. The Smart Payment...

Payments News Update - May 7, 2020

Posted  05/7/20
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Sabre, Farelogix Deal Called Off but U.S. Defeat Still Stands Bloomberg – May 1, 2020 Travel technology companies Sabre Corp. and Farelogix Inc. called it quits on their $360 million deal, but their recent legal victory against antitrust charges is likely to help other firms escape scrutiny. Sabre terminated its planned acquisition of Farelogix Friday, less than a...

Payments News Update -- November 21, 2019

Posted  11/21/19
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Visa Confirms the FTC Is Probing Its Debit Transaction Routing Practices Digital Transactions News – November 18, 2019 Confirming rumors that the Federal Trade Commission is looking into issues involving debit card transaction routing, Visa Inc. late last week reported the Federal Trade Commission has asked it to voluntarily provide information about its routing...

Payments News Update -- August 28, 2019

Posted  08/28/19
Legal and Regulatory Developments As Brexit Nears, Uncertainty Swarms Cross-Border Payments PaymentsSource – August 28, 2019 (subscription required) Processors that rely on cross-border payments to reach new territories are feeling the economic squeeze of the looming Brexit deadline. The problem with Brexit is less about politics and regulation, and more about how these factors will impact processing...
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