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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 – February 18, 2022

Posted  02/18/22
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Visa Had a Monopoly on Payments at the Olympics for 36 Years. China Put an End to That Fortune – February 11, 2022 Since 1986, Visa has served as the exclusive payment service provider for the Olympic Games, complimenting cash as one of the only two ways to pay for anything at official Olympic venues. If you’re at the Olympics and need to pay with a credit...

Payments News Update – December 17, 2021

Posted  12/17/21
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: UK Government Outlines Plans for Regulation of Buy Now Pay Later Industry The Spectator – December 15, 2021

The buy now pay later industry has exploded in recent years, with the industry now worth $100 billion (circa £70 billion). Also known as BNPL, it is used by shoppers to delay payments on any kind of product from champagne to clothes and kitchens, and the...

Payments News Update – December 3, 2021

Posted  12/3/21
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: 6 Ways the EU’s Digital Markets Act Will Change Big Tech PYMNTS – November 29, 2021 The European Union’s Digital Markets Act is coming, and Big Tech will never be the same. In theory. The rules will be voted on by the EU parliament this week, but are widely expected to pass. It’s important to remember that these rules apply to companies with a market cap of...

UK Regulator Raps Schemes for Raising Fees and Concludes that Card-Acquiring Services Market “Does Not Work Well”

Posted  12/3/21
By Richard Pike, Simon Yeung and Andreas Killi[1] A comprehensive government review has concluded that the card-acquiring services that enable merchants in the UK to accept card payments is not working well for a significant number of merchants. The UK’s Payment Systems Regulator (PSR; the economic regulator of the payment systems industry in the UK) published its final report on its market review into...

Payments News Update – November 12, 2021

Posted  11/12/21
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: If You Use Venmo, PayPal or Other Payment Apps This Tax Rule Change May Affect You CNN – November 9, 2021 If you're among the millions of people who use payment apps like PayPal, Venmo, Square, and other third-party electronic payment networks, you could be affected by a tax reporting change that goes into effect in January. Payment app providers will have to start...

Disrupting the Equilibrium? Why stablecoins may struggle to challenge existing payment schemes

Posted  11/8/21
By Richard Pike
Mastercard and Visa have dominated global markets for consumer payments for decades. A key reason for their success is the barriers to entry into the global general purpose payment card network market. It is hard to replicate Visa’s and Mastercard’s global acceptance, and those networks do everything in their power to maintain and increase those barriers. Certain cryptocurrencies, known as stablecoins, have the...

Payments News Update – October 29, 2021

Posted  10/29/21
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Report: Apple ‘Very Likely’ to Face Antitrust Lawsuit From US Department of Justice 9to5Mac – October 25, 2021 A new report from The Information today indicates that Apple is “very likely” to face an antitrust lawsuit from the Department of Justice in the United States. The report explains that the US DOJ has “accelerated” the antitrust probe into...

Payments News Update – October 15, 2021

Posted  10/15/21
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: European Banks Debate Rival to US Payment Giants Politico EU – September 30, 2021 Europe’s biggest banks will decide if it’s in their interests to take on the U.S. payment duopoly of Mastercard and Visa as soon as next month, as political pressure grows to break American dominance in this space. Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, BNP Paribas, ING, Santander, UniCredit...

Payments News Update – October 1, 2021

Posted  10/1/21
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Alibaba Apps Start Offering WeChat Pay Option After Government Orders Reuters – September 28, 2021 China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has begun offering payment services from Tencent Holdings Ltd’s WeChat on a number of its apps, after the government ordered major tech firms to stop blocking each other’s services and links. Local tech blog 36Kr reported on...
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