A consolidated case against Visa and Mastercard over allegedly excessive ATM access fees will proceed as a class action, after a federal judge in Washington certified three separate classes of plaintiffs, reported Bloomberg.
The three original lawsuits, filed in 2011 before they were consolidated, accuse Visa and Mastercard contractually prevented ATM operators from charging reduced “foreign” ATM fees when using a payment network cheaper than the two credit card giants. Such “foreign” fees apply when customers use an ATM that isn’t affiliated with their bank.
The suit stretches back to 2011, when the National ATM Council and more than a dozen ATM deployers filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. They claimed that Visa and MasterCard network rules unlawfully prohibited ATM operators from charging lower fees for transactions over PIN-debit networks not affiliated with Visa or MasterCard.
The plaintiffs argued that the network rules amounted to price-fixing, artificially inflating consumer fees for ATM transactions, limiting ATM operator revenue and violating stipulations of the Sherman Antitrust Act prohibiting unreasonable restraints of trade.
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