Visa and Mastercard are facing a class action lawsuit in the UK seeking compensation for businesses charged Multilateral Interchange Fees (MIFs) for accepting payments using corporate credit cards.
Commercial litigation law firm Harcus Parker has brought the claim at the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), the UK’s specialist judicial body for hearing competition cases.
The suit claims that Visa and Mastercard have forced banks to agree to a level of MIFs set by the two giants, which are “anti-competitive and unlawful”.
Since 2015, EU law capped MIFs at 0.3% on consumer credit card transactions, and 0.2% for consumer debit cards. However, this cap did not apply to corporate credit and debit cards or for inter-regional transactions.
These sales have continued to attract fees of up to 1.8% per transaction, says Harcus Parker, which argues that they should be zero per cent.
Jeremy Robinson, competition litigation partner, Harcus Parker, says: “We are making a stand against unlawful interchange fees, which should be abolished.
“Both the Court of Justice of the EU and the United Kingdom Supreme Court have condemned this practice for consumer credit and debit cards. The UK courts should now clamp down on commercial card and inter-regional fees.”
Businesses with an annual pre-Covid turnover of under £100 million will be automatically included in the claim unless they choose to opt out. Firms with a higher turnover are invited to opt in.
Mastercard is already facing a multi-billion pound class action suit on behalf of tens of millions of Brits, while the Payment Systems Regulator is carrying out two market reviews into it and Visa for their scheme fees and cross-border interchange charges.