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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.

Why the Fed Needs to Offer a Real-Time Payments Alternative

Posted  03/27/19
By Jeffrey I. Shinder
The U.S. continues to be an embarrassing laggard in payments.  While the rest of the developed world spent the last 25 years implementing Chip & PIN to reduce fraud, the United States continued to rely on signatures and magnetic stripes.  That was the equivalent of the world migrating to personal computers, while Americans remained loyal to the typewriter.  Remarkably, while we have begun to use Chip based cards we...

Facebook's Foray into Payments: Revolutionary or More of the Same?

Posted  03/20/19
By Jeffrey I. Shinder
To merchants, the evolution of digital payments was supposed to be a “get out of jail” card that released them from the shackles of the current payment system.  That dream could be reduced to the following proposition - the technology industry could conquer any industry. If anyone could disintermediate Visa and Mastercard and shake up payments, it would be Apple. Facebook, Google, Samsung, or some other tech...

Can Blockchain Introduce Competition in Payments?

Posted  03/20/19
By Jeffrey I. Shinder, Matthew Vaccaro
U.S. merchants' unhappy experience in payments is well known by now.  Take it or leave it interchange rates that are orders of magnitude higher than rates that prevail in other parts of the world.  An increasingly long list of opaquely described network fees, which are also take it or leave it propositions.  Indefensible extensions of the Honor All Cards rules to force merchants that implement contactless...

C|C Payments Weekly News Update

Posted  03/13/19
By Kristian Soltes

March 13, 2019

Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: The Battle for Real-Time Payments Dominance in the U.S. Finextra - March 11, 2019

Since Fed catalysed the private sector to deliver real-time payment capabilities, there has been advocacy for the central bank backed, real-time payments (RTP) scheme. Many feel the lack of a ubiquitous RTP infrastructure has become a road block to innovation in financial...

C|C Payments Weekly News Update

Posted  03/6/19
By Kristian Soltes

March 6, 2019

Legal and Regulatory Developments

SPOTLIGHT: Will 'Open Banking' Sizzle or Fizzle in the U.S.?

The Financial Brand - February 27, 2019

In the U.S., open banking may not yet be law like it is in the U.K., but its impact will continue to ripple across the pond. Here's how experts say the concept will affect banking providers worldwide, including American institutions.

Open banking allows...

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