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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 – August 26, 2021

Posted  08/26/21
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Outgoing NY Governor Signs Bill to Limit Overdraft Practices at State-Chartered Banks Banking Dive – August 20, 2021 New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Thursday aimed at helping consumers avoid bank overdraft fees. The law requires New York-regulated banks to process checks in the order they are received, or from smallest to largest, to prevent customers...

App Store Competition Bill Contains A Loophole

Posted  08/13/21
By Kristian Soltes
Although Congress has already had a busy 2021 pushing antitrust legislation that targets large digital technology platforms, even more legislative battles are looming on the horizon. Earlier this year, bipartisan members of the House introduced six antitrust bills designed to curb the perceived power of tech platforms, some of which were also introduced in the Senate.[1] Those bills have made it through the...

Payments News Update – July 30, 2021

Posted  07/30/21
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Why Biden’s Executive Order Is a Green Light for Us Open Banking Finextra – July 28, 2021 On July 9 2021, President Biden didn’t just throw a bone to US open banking, he underwrote the mortgage, laid the welcome mat, and set the table to officially welcome open banking to the neighbourhood. Yes, open banking is nothing new to the US. With numerous American...

Developments in Merchant Surcharging: Hold the Champagne

Posted  07/28/21
By Jeffrey I. Shinder, Kristian Soltes
Those following the payments industry press on surcharging may have noticed headlines touting recent events in state legislatures and in the courts, which deceptively suggest that the state laws prohibiting merchant surcharging are falling away.  But, as is often the case, the devil is in the details and the positive headlines mask a more sobering reality.   Colorado Governor Jared Polis, for example, recently

Payments News Update – July 9, 2021

Posted  07/9/21
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Clash Over Debit Card Routing Persists In Comments to Fed Payments Dive – July 8, 2021 Clashing comments have gushed into the Federal Reserve in the past two months over its proposal to clarify rules on the routing of debit card transactions, and they show familiar battle lines being drawn. The Fed in May proposed a clarification of existing rules requiring that...

Payments News Update – June 18, 2021

Posted  06/18/21
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Lina Khan, Prominent Big Tech Critic, Will Lead the FTC NPR – June 15, 2021 President Joe Biden has named Lina Khan as the chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission, giving the regulatory authority's top spot to one of Silicon Valley's most prominent critics. The surprise move elevating Khan to one of the most powerful regulatory positions in Washington was...

Payments News Update – June 11, 2021

Posted  06/11/21
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: A Surcharging Bill Advances to the Colorado Governor’s Desk Digital Transactions News – June 9, 2021 Soon, there might be just two states that prohibit credit card surcharging with the passage Tuesday of a bill in Colorado that would permit the pricing strategy. The bill, SB21-091, passed both the Colorado House and Senate and now moves to Governor Jared...
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