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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 -- May 22, 2019

Posted  05/22/19
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: U.S. May Follow Philly and New Jersey to Ban Cashless Businesses WHYY – May 20, 2019 Earlier this year, Philly and New Jersey passed laws banning cashless businesses, restaurants and retail shops where customers can only pay with plastic or their phones. Now, two Democrats in Congress want the country to follow suit. New Jersey U.S. Rep. Donald Payne,...

Apple v. Pepper: Supreme Court Rejects Attempt to Block Consumer Claims Under Indirect-Purchaser Rule

Posted  05/15/19
By Harrison J. McAvoy
The Supreme Court issued a much-anticipated decision in the Apple v. Pepper case, where iPhone owners are accusing Apple of monopolizing the retail market for iOS applications, or apps. The Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, holding that iPhone owners have standing to pursue a claim for damages against Apple under the federal antitrust laws.  The decision has significant implications in terms of both the...

Payments News Update -- May 8, 2019

Posted  05/8/19
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Debit Dynamics Digital Transactions News – May 1, 2019 Merchants have said it before, and they’re saying it again: It’s high time the Federal Reserve lowers its regulated debit card interchange rate. The call by the Retail Industry Leaders Association came shortly after the Fed in March released its latest study of debit card revenues and expenses. The...

Brexit's Potential Impact on the UK Payments Industry

Posted  05/8/19
Like many around the world we have followed the trials and tribulations of Brexit with great interest.  It is beyond the scope of this blog to enter into the fraught territory of predicting the United Kingdom’s future relationship with Europe.  However, we have been following Brexit’s potential impact on payments regulations in the United Kingdom given the potential impact to UK merchants and Fintechs.  Below...

Payments News Update -- May 1, 2019

Posted  05/1/19
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Factors Align for Widespread U.S. Contactless Payments Adoption, A Fed Study Suggests Digital Transactions News – April 26, 2019 The conditions for the widespread adoption of contactless payments using chip cards are in place, asserts a new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. But when that will happen and what will trigger it are unknown in the Fed...

Does the Token Taxonomy Act Offer “Security” for Blockchain?

Posted  04/29/19
Blockchain and cryptocurrency, which some call the most innovative technology since the internet, should be dominating America’s tech industry. But it isn’t. A lack of regulatory certainty combined with inconsistent guidance from the SEC and the courts has crypto-startups flourishing overseas instead of right here at home. As a result, the Token Taxonomy Act (“TTA”) has been reintroduced in the House of...

Payments News Update -- April 24, 2019

Posted  04/24/19
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: The Government's Set a Steep Learning Curve for Crypto Compliance PaymentSource PayThink – April 22, 2019 The market and regulatory forces that fueled a substantial uptick in merger and acquisition activity in the blockchain industry in the U.S. in 2018 are expected to continue through 2019. Cryptocurrency prices remain significantly below their high-water...

TCH Just Made the Case for a Federal Reserve Real-Time Payments Alternative

Posted  04/18/19
By Jeffrey I. Shinder
For many years, The Clearing House (“TCH”) has occupied an unusual space in the payments industry.  Owned by 26 of the largest banks in the United States, TCH is uniquely capable of deploying a set of payment rails that could be transformative.  Few can match what TCH brings to the table.  TCH operates a wire transfer platform (CHIPS), an ACH network (EPN), a check imaging system and, most consequentially, a...

PSD2 and the Future of Payment Services in Europe

Posted  04/17/19
Open Banking is a major topic of discussion in the United States as a potential solution to the lack of competition in the marketplace.  The European payments services directive (“PSD2”) is the most comprehensive Open Banking initiative we are aware of, and its progress is a good barometer of whether such regulations can successfully introduce new competition in payments.  Our London office prepared the...
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