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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 – November 12, 2020

Posted  11/12/20
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: DOJ Suit Over Visa, Plaid Deal Sounds a Lot Like a Monopoly Case Bloomberg Law – November 10, 2020 The government’s lawsuit to block Visa Inc.'s $5.3 billion acquisition of Plaid Inc. contains language that could stir expectations of possibly stronger actions against the credit card giant. The case, filed Nov. 5 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern...

Payments News Update – October 29, 2020

Posted  10/29/20
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: The DOJ Is Investigating Visa’s $5.3 Billion Bid for Plaid on Antitrust Grounds Tech Crunch – October 28, 2020 It’s not just big tech that’s getting the antitrust treatment from the Department of Justice. Late Monday afternoon, the Department of Justice tipped its hand that it was investigating Visa’s proposed $5.3 billion acquisition of the venture-backed...

Payments News Update – October 22, 2020

Posted  10/22/20
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: UK Retailers Attack Visa and Mastercard Over Card Fees Finextra – October 20, 2020 The latest payments survey from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) shows card use continuing to rise steadily from 54% of transactions in 2016 to 61% in 2019. At the same time, the cost to retailers of accepting payments reached £1.1 billion in 2019, of which £950m was from card...

Payments News Update – October 16, 2020

Posted  10/16/20
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: 10 Ways Fintech, Payments Are on the Ballot in the 2020 House Election PaymentsSource – October 11, 2020 As the House of Representatives enters the 2020 election season, the outcome stands to encourage or rein in a group of technology companies that are encroaching deeper into financial services. The representatives voters send to Congress in 2021 will play a role...

Payments News Update – October 8, 2020

Posted  10/8/20
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: House Panel Says Big Tech Wields Monopoly Power Wall Street Journal – October 6, 2020 America’s biggest technology companies have leveraged their dominance to stamp out competition and stifle innovation, according to a Democratic-led House panel, which said Congress should consider forcing the tech giants to separate their dominant online platforms from other...

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...
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