Why Mastercard and Visa’s $30 Billion Settlement Might Not Be Good Enough

Merchants have been battling Mastercard and Visa over their hefty electronic transaction fees for almost twenty years. With $30 billion on the line, will they settle or not?  

Why the Battle With the Bank Cards? 

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Swipe fees are more intricate than consumers know, and this is the very argument that sparked the grueling legal battle with Mastercard and Visa verifying merchants. The National Retail Federation (NRF) and the Retail Industry Leaders Association(RILA) disputed being charged large swipe fees. 

Retailers Struggling To Keep up With Fees

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The National Retail Federation (NRF) has said “hidden fees” are charged to process transactions. The card network providers and banks charge up to 2% and sometimes 4% for credit cards. Lower fees are charged on debit cards, and fraud prevention fees are around 1 cent. 

How Much Does Retail Pay?

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The NRF said retailers spent over $170 billion in swipe fees in 2023. The NRF confirmed that swipe fees are one of the largest operating expenses for many major retailers. Since 2021, a record has been held regarding fees that rose from $20,000 billion a year. 

It Affects Service and Product Costs

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According to the NRF, the swipe fees impact the retail prices of goods and services. Customers can pay up to $1,000 more for an item per year. 

Customers Want To Save

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If electronic transaction fees continue rising, customers won’t be able to spend money as frequently. In a time where customers are shopping for deals and reducing their expenditure is important, the rising fees will jeopardize this. 

Time To Fight Back

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The Credit Card Competition Act of 2023 allows retailers to fight the high fees and take on the card companies. The NRF also noted that contesting high fees wasn’t possible until the Act was established. 

Card Providers Offer a Settlement

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Mastercard and Visa have offered a $30 billion settlement to compensate retailers for the high fees they collected previously. This settlement is said to span over a period of five years. 

The Appeal 

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Retailers, the NRF, and the RILA contested the settlement in a letter to U.S. Chief District Judge Margo Brodie. The letter stated, “The temporary reduction ‘is but a drop in the bucket’ compared to current rates.” Still, merchants have spent over $100 billion in fees to Mastercard and Visa in 2023.

The Relief Would Only Be Temporary

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It also stated that the agreement would only provide temporary relief of $30 billion over a period of five years at $6 billion in savings each year for the merchants.

There’s Still a Problem 

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Despite the proposed settlement of temporary relief over five years amounting to $30 billion, the letter further mentioned, “…After the five-year period period expires, Visa and Mastercard might again raise rates without restraint.” 

The Judge Might Rule Against the Settlement 

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Based on the information in the court documents, it looks like Judge Brodie won’t accept the settlement. This was the feedback from a Bloomberg intelligence analyst, Justin Teresi. 

Visa and Mastercard Are Not Happy 

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Mastercard and Visa are undoubtedly unhappy with the way things are going. The companies’ spokespersons have reiterated that they believe the settlement is a fair resolution to the ongoing legal battle. “We will pursue our options to ensure a proper resolution of this matter,” a company representative confirmed. 

Praise for the Judge

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Retail associations and heads like Doug Kator, a general council representing The National Association of Convenience Stores, shared gratitude towards judge Brodie. 

Underperforming Stocks 

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Given the negative media and events surrounding them, Visa and Mastercard’s stocks have underperformed. Visa has also seen a slight percentage drop.

Time Will Tell 

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The results of this ongoing swipe fees battle have yet to be finalized. The parties involved in the battle must come to an agreement at some stage. The judge is set to make a ruling on this case soon. 

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The post Why Mastercard and Visa’s $30 Billion Settlement Might Not Be Good Enough first appeared on Liberty & Wealth.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

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