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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 – 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...

Payments News Update – August 26, 2021

Posted  08/26/21
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Outgoing NY Governor Signs Bill to Limit Overdraft Practices at State-Chartered Banks Banking Dive – August 20, 2021 New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Thursday aimed at helping consumers avoid bank overdraft fees. The law requires New York-regulated banks to process checks in the order they are received, or from smallest to largest, to prevent customers...

App Store Competition Bill Contains A Loophole

Posted  08/13/21
By Kristian Soltes
Although Congress has already had a busy 2021 pushing antitrust legislation that targets large digital technology platforms, even more legislative battles are looming on the horizon. Earlier this year, bipartisan members of the House introduced six antitrust bills designed to curb the perceived power of tech platforms, some of which were also introduced in the Senate.[1] Those bills have made it through the...

Payments News Update – July 30, 2021

Posted  07/30/21
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Why Biden’s Executive Order Is a Green Light for Us Open Banking Finextra – July 28, 2021 On July 9 2021, President Biden didn’t just throw a bone to US open banking, he underwrote the mortgage, laid the welcome mat, and set the table to officially welcome open banking to the neighbourhood. Yes, open banking is nothing new to the US. With numerous American...

Developments in Merchant Surcharging: Hold the Champagne

Posted  07/28/21
By Jeffrey I. Shinder, Kristian Soltes
Those following the payments industry press on surcharging may have noticed headlines touting recent events in state legislatures and in the courts, which deceptively suggest that the state laws prohibiting merchant surcharging are falling away.  But, as is often the case, the devil is in the details and the positive headlines mask a more sobering reality.   Colorado Governor Jared Polis, for example, recently

Payments News Update – July 9, 2021

Posted  07/9/21
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Clash Over Debit Card Routing Persists In Comments to Fed Payments Dive – July 8, 2021 Clashing comments have gushed into the Federal Reserve in the past two months over its proposal to clarify rules on the routing of debit card transactions, and they show familiar battle lines being drawn. The Fed in May proposed a clarification of existing rules requiring that...

Payments News Update – June 18, 2021

Posted  06/18/21
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Lina Khan, Prominent Big Tech Critic, Will Lead the FTC NPR – June 15, 2021 President Joe Biden has named Lina Khan as the chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission, giving the regulatory authority's top spot to one of Silicon Valley's most prominent critics. The surprise move elevating Khan to one of the most powerful regulatory positions in Washington was...
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