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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 13, 2020

Posted  08/13/20
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: With a Compliance Deadline Looming, Technology Emerges to Ease Gas Pump EMV Digital Transactions News – August 7, 2020 Sound Payments Inc., a multichannel technology provider that offers point-of-sale solutions for the petroleum industry, expects its partnership with National Retail Solutions, a subsidiary of IDT Corp., to accelerate adoption of EMV at in-pump card...

Payments News Update – August 6, 2020

Posted  08/6/20
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Exclusive: China's Central Bank Urges Antitrust Probe Into Alipay, WeChat Pay Reuters – August 6, 2020 China’s top antitrust agency is looking at whether to launch a probe into Alipay and WeChat Pay, prompted by the central bank which argues the digital payment giants have used their dominant positions to quash competition, sources with knowledge of the matter...

Payments News Update – July 23, 2020

Posted  07/23/20
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Open Banking for the Unbanked: How the Pandemic Is Affecting Innovation in LatAm PYMNTS – July 22, 2020 With nearly 50 percent of the Latin American population unbanked, there’s a growing appetite for mobile banking services. And the ongoing pandemic is only accelerating this trend, says Paula Arregui, chief operating officer for Mercado Pago. In the latest...

Payments News Update – July 16, 2020

Posted  07/16/20
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: UK Tightens Rules on Payments Firms in Wake of Wirecard Debacle PYMNTS – July 9, 2020 The United Kingdom’s financial regulator has toughened rules on payment companies less than two weeks after Wirecard AG’s collapse locked millions of customers out of their accounts, the Financial Times reported. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said Thursday (July 9) it...

Payments News Update – July 9, 2020

Posted  07/9/20
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Bipartisan Senate Bill Would Punish Retailers for Refusing Cash Payments CNBC – July 2, 2020 Sens. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., have introduced a bill prohibiting retailers from declining cash payments from customers, as businesses promote “contactless” digital payment as they grapple with the coronavirus pandemic. Retailers and mall owners,...

Payments News Update – July 2, 2020

Posted  07/2/20
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: EU Says Credit-Card Fee Curbs Helped Reduce Prices for Consumers Bloomberg – June 29, 2020 European Union curbs on credit and debit-card fees helped reduce prices for consumers and aided payments across the 27-nation bloc, regulators said in a report published Monday. “Interchange fees for consumer cards have decreased, leading to reduced merchants’ charges for...

Payments News Update – June 25, 2020

Posted  06/25/20
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Apple’s Easy Ride From U.S. Authorities May Be Over Politico – June 24, 2020 The Justice Department and a coalition of state attorneys general are taking the first steps toward launching an antitrust probe of Apple, turning the iPhone-maker into the latest Silicon Valley giant to face legal jeopardy in Washington, three people involved in the discussions told...
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