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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 14, 2019

Posted  08/14/19
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: UK's Financial Conduct Authority to Delay PSD2's SCA, FT Reports The Paypers – August 8, 2019 The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority is set to delay enforcement of PSD2’s SCA by more than 18 months, after warnings that the rules would threat online sales. Strong customer authentication (SCA) rules, which are due to be introduced in September 14, 2019, require...

Payments News Update -- August 7, 2019

Posted  08/7/19
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: It’s Official: The Fed Is Jumping Into Real-Time Payments With FedNow Digital Transactions News – August 5, 2019 Ending months of speculation, the Federal Reserve confirmed Monday it will launch a real-time payments service by 2023 or 2024. The banking regulator, which also published Monday a notice in the Federal Register outlining its plan and requesting...

Payments News Update -- July 31, 2019

Posted  07/31/19
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Visa and Kroger Settle Debit-Routing Lawsuit, but Partial Credit Card Boycott Continues Digital Transactions News – July 31, 2019 The Kroger Co. and Visa Inc. have settled a 2016 federal lawsuit in which Kroger alleged Visa interfered with its transaction-routing plans for EMV debit cards, Digital Transactions News has learned. In a separate dispute, however, the...

Payments News Update -- July 24, 2019

Posted  07/24/19
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: US Reps, Senators Present Faster Payments Legislation PYMNTS – July 24, 2019 To reinforce the Federal Reserve’s authority to create a real-time payments system and mandate that the Fed brings about its own process, two U.S. representatives and two U.S. senators have introduced the Payment Modernization Act of 2019. The legislation was brought forward...

Payments News Update -- July 17, 2019

Posted  07/17/19
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: How Digital Banks Are Breaking up Latin America's Finance Monopolies OZY – July 11, 2019 Gabriela Franco clutches her phone, frustrated. Her bank in São Paulo is on the other end. She needs to wire money right away to a separate account at her bank. But the representative is telling her she has “to be there — like, physically — at the bank in São Paulo to...

Payments News Update -- June 26, 2019

Posted  06/26/19
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Tariff Pressure Takes Aim at Payment Equipment Once Again  Digital Transactions News – June 20, 2019 While legislators and regulators focused much of their attention on the Facebook-backed Libra cryptocurrency this week, tariffs on Chinese-made goods re-emerged in Washington as a threat that could raise prices for merchants and merchant acquirers. The...

Payments News Update -- June 12, 2019

Posted  06/12/19
Legal and Regulatory Developments Banks Warn EU Rules Will Scupper a Quarter of Online Payments Financial Times – June 12, 2019 Europe’s big banks have warned that more than a quarter of online payments will be impossible to complete from September because of a lack of preparedness for new EU anti-fraud rules and have “urgently” requested more time to adapt. In a letter seen by the Financial Times,...

Payments News Update -- June 5, 2019

Posted  06/5/19
Industry Developments SPOTLIGHT: Is It Enough? Digital Transactions Magazine – June 1, 2019 For Mastercard and Visa chargeback process changes to make the most impact on friendly fraud, merchants will have to take matters into their own hands. About a year ago, Visa Inc. rolled out a new initiative to update, modernize, and streamline chargeback procedures and the dispute-management process. Later in the...
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