UK: Visa claims interchange victory

On Thursday, November 30, a High Court judge in London handed a win to Visa, ruling in a long-running case brought by Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd. that the credit card company did not set its interchange fees at an unlawful level that restricted competition.

In 2013 a group of high street retailers launched legal proceedings in the UK, claiming that Visa’s UK and cross-border European interchange fees were contrary to competition law.

The card giant is now claiming victory after a high court ruling that its UK fees are lawful and is looking to put the matter to bed, urging merchants to work with it to “create the future of digital commerce.”

In an open letter, Visa said, “We hope the Court’s decision will accelerate the collaboration between retailers and Visa and will allow us to address the greatest disruption – and potentially the greatest opportunity – facing the merchant community in Europe today: the digitisation of commerce.”

A Sainsbury’s spokeswoman said, “This claim concerned the damage Sainsbury’s maintains was caused by Visa’s breach of UK and EU competition laws in its setting of interchange fees.

“Sainsbury’s is disappointed by the decision of the High Court in finding that Visa had not infringed competition law.

“Sainsbury’s is now considering its position.” It is expected to launch an appeal.

Sainsbury’s won a separate court case last summer, with a £68 million (US$91.9 million) award from Mastercard.

Sainsbury’s won a separate court case last summer, with a £68 million award from Mastercard.

Full Content: AOL & Law 360

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