Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation
Berger Montague served as co-lead counsel for a national class including millions of merchants in the Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation against Visa, MasterCard, and several of the largest banks in the U.S. (e.g., Chase, Bank of America, and Citi).
The lawsuit alleged that merchants paid excessive fees to accept Visa and MasterCard cards because the payment cards, individually and together with their respective member banks, violated the antitrust laws. The challenged conduct included, inter alia, the collective fixing of interchange fees and adoption of rules that hindered any competitive pressure by merchants to reduce those fees. The lawsuit further alleged that defendants maintained their conspiracy even after both Visa and MasterCard changed their corporate forms from joint ventures owned by member banks to publicly-owned corporations following commencement of this litigation.
On September 18, 2018, Visa and MasterCard agreed to pay between $5.54 billion and $6.24 billion to settle the case. This is the largest-ever class action settlement of an antitrust case. The settlement was preliminarily approved on January 24, 2019. The settlement received final approval on December 16, 2019, for approximately $5.6 billion.