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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 – July 16, 2020

Posted  07/16/20
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: UK Tightens Rules on Payments Firms in Wake of Wirecard Debacle PYMNTS – July 9, 2020 The United Kingdom’s financial regulator has toughened rules on payment companies less than two weeks after Wirecard AG’s collapse locked millions of customers out of their accounts, the Financial Times reported. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said Thursday (July 9) it...

Payments News Update – July 9, 2020

Posted  07/9/20
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Bipartisan Senate Bill Would Punish Retailers for Refusing Cash Payments CNBC – July 2, 2020 Sens. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., have introduced a bill prohibiting retailers from declining cash payments from customers, as businesses promote “contactless” digital payment as they grapple with the coronavirus pandemic. Retailers and mall owners,...

Payments News Update – July 2, 2020

Posted  07/2/20
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: EU Says Credit-Card Fee Curbs Helped Reduce Prices for Consumers Bloomberg – June 29, 2020 European Union curbs on credit and debit-card fees helped reduce prices for consumers and aided payments across the 27-nation bloc, regulators said in a report published Monday. “Interchange fees for consumer cards have decreased, leading to reduced merchants’ charges for...

Payments News Update – June 25, 2020

Posted  06/25/20
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Apple’s Easy Ride From U.S. Authorities May Be Over Politico – June 24, 2020 The Justice Department and a coalition of state attorneys general are taking the first steps toward launching an antitrust probe of Apple, turning the iPhone-maker into the latest Silicon Valley giant to face legal jeopardy in Washington, three people involved in the discussions told...

Payments News Update – June 12, 2020

Posted  06/12/20
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: 'Fraud' Lawsuit Slams Plaid on Eve of Historic $5.3-Billion Payday RIABiz – June 9, 2020 As Plaid nears the date when it banks a $5.3 billion dollar check from Visa, it may face a final hurdle from a class action alleging its value proposition depends on a "massive invasion" of the privacy of over 200 million bank and brokerage accounts. Filed on May 5, the...

Payments News Update – May 28, 2020

Posted  05/28/20
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: French Anti-Trust Watchdog Shines a Light on Fintech Finextra – May 27, 2020

France's competition authority has launched a public consultation into the fintech sector, with a focus on payment services. The payments sector is being upended by a combination of new technologies, such as mobile phones and blockchain, and new players, both fintech startups and big tech...

Payments News Update - May 21, 2020

Posted  05/21/20
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: Retailers and Wholesalers Call for Urgent Amendment of Card Fees Regulation Finextra – May 18, 2020 EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren today pressed the European Commission to act on the growing problems facing retailers and wholesalers resulting from the limited scope of the Interchange Fee Regulation (IFR). He asked for firm proposals to amend...

Payments News Update - May 14, 2020

Posted  05/14/20
Legal and Regulatory Developments SPOTLIGHT: A Third Rail for Europe: SEPA Instant Payment Card Comes Into Focus PaymentsSource – May 11, 2020 (subscription required) The potential for a new card scheme throughout Europe has been a discussion point surrounding the Single Euro Payment Area since its inception more than a decade ago. A new proposal could bring this concept into reality. The Smart Payment...
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