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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 -- 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...

The First Blockchain Antitrust Case. Or Is It?

Posted  05/29/19
By Kristian Soltes
Legal professionals paying close attention to the still nascent world of blockchains and cyptocurrencies are following what is considered to be the first antitrust case involving cryptocurrencies. For enthusiasts, United American Corp. v. Bitmain, Inc. involves the self-described inventor of bitcoin on one side, the operator of bitcoin.com on the other side, the world’s largest mining pools, and the Bitcoin Cash...

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...

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