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Electronic Payments Practice

Constantine Cannon has unparalleled expertise and worldwide recognition in cases involving the payments industry.  Since the firm’s formation in 1994, we have represented clients concerning virtually every major antitrust development in the payments space.  

This includes litigating every major antitrust case involving Visa, Mastercard and American Express since the 1990s. The firm has represented clients with respect to government investigations, mergers and joint ventures in the industry.  

Our payments industry expertise spans the convergence of fintech and digital commerce and payments.  We are adept at helping large, diverse groups of clients band together in complex cases that require significant time, stamina and legal acumen to plan and win. 

For instance, we serve as counsel for the 7-Eleven Group, the largest of several groups of retailers challenging Visa’s and Mastercard’s Honor All Cards and default interchange rules in a long-running multidistrict litigation.  The 7-Eleven Group includes many of the largest merchants in the United States, including Amazon, Costco, Lowes, Starbucks, Gap, Amtrak, 7-Eleven among many others.

Complex Cases, Major Wins

For millions of retailers, our lawyers secured what was then the largest antitrust settlement in U.S. history in In Re Visa Check/MasterMoney Antitrust Litigation. The case was brought by Walmart and other large retailers on behalf of a certified class of four million retailers that had been forced to accept Visa/MasterCard signature debit transactions at supra-competitive prices. Our work resulted in a monetary settlement of $3.4 billion (then three times the previous largest award) and injunctive relief estimated by the Court at upwards of $87 billion. 

Constantine Cannon also secured what was then the third largest antitrust settlement for client Discover Financial Services, Inc. Discover had sued Visa and MasterCard for damages regarding Visa’s and Mastercard’s enforcement of rules that precluded their bank members from issuing Discover-branded cards. The case resulted in a settlement of $2.75 billion on the eve of trial.

For a group of more than 60 merchants, including both Walmart and Amazon, we successfully objected to the $7.25 billion settlement of the class claims against Visa and Mastercard regarding their Honor All Cards and default interchange rules, among other practices.  That settlement was vacated by the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. 

Versatile, Nimble, Experienced

Our payments work extends well beyond the trial and appellate courts. Constantine Cannon regularly represents industry participants, including merchants, fintechs and networks, before federal and state antitrust enforcers and regulators. 

We served as lead counsel for the Merchant Payments Coalition, a coalition of the major merchant trade associations, before the Federal Reserve in connection with regulations adopted per the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act regarding debit card transactions and debit card interchange fees. And we have remained deeply involved in ongoing advocacy for enforcement of debit regulation before the Federal Reserve and the Federal Trade Commission.

Our firm also serves as outside general counsel for the Merchant Advisory Group (the MAG), a payments-focused trade association comprised of more than 150 U.S. merchants and which account for more than $4.8 trillion in annual sales at more than 580,000 locations across the United States and online.

A Leader in Antitrust Issues

Constantine Cannon’s lawyers are thought leaders on issues related to electronic payments. Because of our deep expertise and winning track record, we are routinely asked to speak and write on e-payments developments. Here is a sampling of our articles:

 

Contact us to learn more about our antitrust expertise in electronic payments matters and subscribe to our Payments Blog for news updates and insights.  

 

To keep up with our Antitrust Team, subscribe to our Antitrust Today blog, follow us on LinkedIn & Twitter and listen to our podcast, Antitrust Matters.

 

Payments News Update - July 22, 2022

Posted  07/22/22
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Lawsuit Accuses Apple of Antitrust Violations Over Apple Pay Reuters – July 18, 2022 Apple Inc (AAPL.O) was sued on Monday in a proposed class action by payment card issuers accusing the iPhone maker of abusing its market power in mobile devices to thwart competition for its Apple Pay mobile wallet. According to a complaint filed in San Francisco federal...

Payments News Update - June 24, 2022

Posted  06/24/22
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: UK Watchdog to Review Post-Brexit Visa and Mastercard Fees Reuters – June 21, 2022

Britain's payment systems regulator (PSR) will conduct two market reviews of card fees charged by Visa and Mastercard, the U.S. companies that account for 99% of debit and credit card payments in the UK. The PSR's announcement on Tuesday follows heavy pressure from lawmakers to launch...

Payments News Update - June 10, 2022

Posted  06/10/22
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Lawmakers Seek to Push Antitrust, Privacy Bills as Big Tech Revamps Lobbying Efforts PYMNTS – June 10, 2022 Google, Meta, Amazon and Apple have been living for the last years with the threat of new legislation in the U.S. that could limit their ability to operate their platforms, and especially during the last 18 months since President Joe Biden took office. But...

U.S. Adoption of a Central Bank Digital Currency Could Revitalize Payments Markets With Competition

Posted  06/1/22
By Owen Glist, Kristian Soltes
Various Digital Currencies
The ailing U.S. payments markets could get a shot of much-needed competition if the U.S. government follows through on proposals to adopt a Central Bank Digital Currency (“CBDC”)—which would be issued by the Federal Reserve. The competitive failings of U.S. payments markets were highlighted a few weeks ago at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on interchange or “swipe fees,” the fees that merchants pay...

Payments News Update – May 26, 2022

Posted  05/26/22
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: CFPB Recasts Innovation Office to Emphasize Competition Banking Dive – May 25, 2022 The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is leaving the sandbox and recasting its innovation efforts to emphasize its role in promoting competition. The agency’s newly established Office of Competition and Innovation, announced Tuesday, aims to explore how customers can...

Pass-on Defences and Indirect Claims: Will UK Courts Apply the Same Antitrust Sauce to the Goose as to the Gander?

Posted  05/24/22
How the UK is sorting out the rights of direct and indirect purchasers to claim damages for anti-competitive conduct. By Richard Pike It is well-established in economic literature that anti-competitive conduct may increase prices not only for direct purchasers but also for indirect purchasers. As UK courts are now demonstrating, however, determining who should be allowed to recover, and what each party must...

Payments News Update – May 6, 2022

Posted  05/6/22
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Senators Grill Visa, Mastercard Execs Over Swipe Fees The Hill – May 4, 2022 Senators on Wednesday scrutinized Visa and Mastercard for raising swipe fees on merchants, costs that they say will be passed down to consumers amid surging inflation. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), a longtime critic of the credit card giants, called for new...

Payments News Update - April 22, 2022

Posted  04/22/22
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Lawmakers Seek to Cancel Card Fee Increases Payments Dive – April 21, 2022 A bipartisan group of four lawmakers implored Visa and Mastercard on Friday to cancel credit and debit card "swipe" fee increases planned for this month, warning them about practices that could raise antitrust concerns. In an April 15 letter to the CEOs of Visa and Mastercard, the Democrats...

Mastercard’s Digital Fee Hike Means Double Trouble for Merchants

Posted  04/13/22
By Owen Glist As part of the annual spring ritual of interchange increases and new network fees, Mastercard has announced that it is more than doubling its “Digital Enablement Fee.”  This hefty price hike raises both the cost of digital transactions and antitrust concerns. Mastercard’s Digital Enablement Fee is essentially a tax the network imposes for “enabling” online transactions, also known as...

Payments News Update – April 7, 2022

Posted  04/7/22
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Debit Card Antitrust Case Against Visa Revived, With New Judge Reuters – April 5, 2022 A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday revived an antitrust case against Visa Inc over debit card services and reassigned the dispute to a different Texas federal court, after criticizing the slow pace of the litigation and questioning whether the trial judge was biased against the...
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