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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, 2021

Posted  02/18/21
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Feds Probing American Express' Business, Consumer Card Sales Practices The Hill – February 12, 2021 American Express disclosed on Friday that several federal agencies are probing its sales practices for its small business credit cards and consumer cards. The company said in a regulatory filing that it received a grand jury subpoena in January from the U.S....

Payments News Update – February 11, 2021

Posted  02/11/21
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Big Banks, Big Tech Face off Over Swipe Fees American Banker – February 7, 2021 The fees generated from consumers’ debit card spending have long been a source of acrimony between big banks and retailers. But now the banks have a new adversary: Apple, PayPal and other fresh competitors from the tech industry. In recent months, banking heavyweights have sought to...

Payments News Update – January 28, 2021

Posted  01/28/21
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: UK Merchants to Face Post-Brexit Fee Increase From Mastercard Business Insider – January 26, 2021 In response to Brexit, Mastercard is reportedly planning to increase fees for UK online card purchases. And this move could negatively affect cash-strapped merchants. Insider Intelligence publishes hundreds of insights, charts, and forecasts on the Payments & Commerce...

Payments News Update – January 21, 2021

Posted  01/21/21
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: CFPB Under Chopra Will Be Aggressive Consumer Watchdog, Experts Say Compliance Week – January 19, 2021 Rohit Chopra, currently a Democratic commissioner on the Federal Trade Commission, has been nominated by President-elect Joe Biden to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Unlike some Biden nominations (think Janet Yellen at the Treasury...

Payments News Update – January 14, 2021

Posted  01/14/21
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Visa Will Not Acquire Plaid After Running Into Regulatory Wall TechCrunch – January 12, 2021 Visa and Plaid called off their agreement this afternoon, ending the consumer credit giant’s takeover of the data-focused fintech API startup. The deal, valued at $5.3 billion at the time of its announcement, first broke cover on January 13, 2020, or nearly one year ago...

Payments News Update – December 17, 2020

Posted  12/17/20
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Will a U.K. Class Action Case Influence Interchange Policy in the United States? Digital Transactions News – December 14, 2020 A class of 46 million consumers in the United Kingdom cleared a major hurdle last week when the country’s Supreme Court ruled that a class-action suit brought against Mastercard Inc. for excessive interchange fees can proceed. But they...

Payments News Update – December 10, 2020

Posted  12/10/20
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Facebook’s Antitrust Problems Are Jeopardizing Its Plans for WhatsApp Quartz – December 9, 2020 Facebook doesn’t make much money from WhatsApp. But CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that forcing the company to sell the messaging app—as US prosecutors have called for in a new antitrust suit filed on Dec. 9—represents an “existential” threat to the business....

Payments News Update – December 3, 2020

Posted  12/3/20
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Visa Is Doing What Big American Companies Do to ‘Protect This Business’ The New York Times – December 2, 2020 (subscription required) Visa dominates the lucrative business of processing debit card transactions. Merchants must choose between paying the financial services company’s fees or forgoing sales to the millions of Americans who carry cards emblazoned...

Payments News Update – November 12, 2020

Posted  11/12/20
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: DOJ Suit Over Visa, Plaid Deal Sounds a Lot Like a Monopoly Case Bloomberg Law – November 10, 2020 The government’s lawsuit to block Visa Inc.'s $5.3 billion acquisition of Plaid Inc. contains language that could stir expectations of possibly stronger actions against the credit card giant. The case, filed Nov. 5 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern...
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