Mastercard claim FAQ

Answering your questions about the claim against Mastercard and Visa

The case is about businesses and organisations trading in the UK that have been unlawfully overcharged ‘multilateral interchange fees’ (MIFs) for accepting commercial cards.

We are seeking compensation for them, going back to June 2016.

The MIFs are charges imposed by Mastercard and Visa on banks, as a condition of those banks participating in the card schemes. The banks pass these fees to merchants through merchant service charges and MIFs are the largest part of these charges. The Proposed Class Representatives argue that the MIFs are anticompetitive, unlawful and businesses should get them back.

The case is a new front in the battle against interchange fees. The European Commission (backed by the Court of Justice of the EU) clamped down on consumer card interchange fees on an EU and inter-regional basis, and the Supreme Court of the UK – in the Sainsbury’s case in 2020 – did the same for UK consumer card interchange fees, resulting in a substantial settlement in 2021.

We launched the case before the UK’s specialist judicial competition body, called the Competition Appeal Tribunal. We refer to this as the ‘CAT’ or the ‘Tribunal’.

Any UK businesses or organisations – and other businesses trading in the UK – who accepted Mastercard and Visa commercial cards between 6 June 2016 and 6 June 2022 may have a claim.

There are two pathways for claimants to join the case, depending on their average annual turnover (revenue) between 2016-2019 as recorded in its accounts. That baseline period was chosen because from 2020 onwards, many businesses’ revenues were sharply affected during the Covid period.

Automatically part of the class – turnover below £100 million

If the business turns over, on average, less than £100 million every year (pre-Covid), it is automatically included. All you need to do is register your details with us. You can do so here. If we succeed, you can then get your share of the damages.
Join the class by opting-in – turnover £100 million or more

If the business turns over, on average, £100 million or more every year (pre-Covid), you will need to ‘opt-in’ formally. You do this in two stages:

  • First, you need to register your interest in opting in, by completing the website form.
  • Secondly, the CAT must ‘certify’ the claims before they can move forwards to trial, and if/when it does so, you will be able to opt-in formally. We will tell you how and when to do this.

There are two reasons you should join.

First, to get compensation for losses your business or organisation has suffered owing to the unlawful interchange fees you have been charged.

Second, to help put a stop to these fees for the future.

We believe the case is strong. Competition authorities and courts in the EU and UK have found that MIFs for accepting consumer credit and debit cards were
unlawful. The facts and conduct in these consumer cases are materially identical to the facts of these commercial card cases.

These excessive MIFs across the economy could total billions of pounds plus interest.

The value of the claim depends on:

  • First, how much of your revenue comes from card payments;
  • Secondly, how much of those card payments comes from Mastercard and Visa;
  • Thirdly, how much of your Mastercard and Visa revenue comes from commercial cards; and
  • Fourthly, the MIF rates that were applied when those commercial cards were used.

We argue that MIFs should have been zero. That means the starting point for calculating damages should be the full amount of the commercial card MIFs paid from the start of the claim period – June 2016. Some of the larger claimants will have claims worth tens of millions of pounds or more.

Please contact us if your average annual turnover is £100 million or more and you would like us to estimate the potential value of your claim. We will not charge you for carrying out an estimate on your behalf.

This depends on what your settlement says, and whether it is with Mastercard, Visa or both.

We are happy to review (at no charge) existing settlements to advise whether you still have a claim, and how much it might be worth, against one or both of Mastercard and Visa.  Many settlements were not, and could not be, comprehensive.

This is one case. However, for technical and legal reasons, we have structured it as four separate claims within that case:

  • Opt-in against Mastercard; 
  • Opt-in against Visa; 
  • Opt-out against Mastercard; and
  • Opt-out against Visa.

This structure is particularly helpful for opt-in claimants, who may wish to choose whether to pursue their claims against either or both of Mastercard and Visa.

The proposed class representatives bringing the case are two English companies:

  • Commercial and Interregional Card Claims I Limited is applying to be the class representative for the two opt-in claims; and
  • Commercial and Interregional Card Claims II Limited is applying to be the class representative for the two opt-out claims.

Stephen Allen is the director of these companies.  He is an experienced executive in the travel sector, with in-depth knowledge and experience relevant to many potential claimants. Mr Allen is supported by his solicitors, Harcus Parker.  They have a strong track record in competition law and group litigation and are working alongside a team of leading commercial and competition barristers, and competition economists.  Mr Allen is also supported by an Advisory Panel with diverse legal and industry expertise.

The case has been brought at the Competition Appeal Tribunal.

A class representative has many duties. Among these are:

  • To act fairly and adequately in the interests of class members and
  • To be free from a material conflict of interest with the common interests of the class members.

The proposed class representatives have instructed Harcus Parker to prepare a litigation plan on their behalf. This plan sets out in detail how the proposed class representative will act fairly and adequately in the interests of class members, including a plan for communicating with class members and a procedure for governance.

The proposed class representatives seek to represent businesses and organisations trading in the UK of all sizes and from all sectors. The case is structured as four separate claims:

  • Opt-in against Mastercard;
  • Opt-in against Visa;
  • Opt-out against Mastercard; and
  • Opt-out against Visa.

‘Opt-in’ means that a business must actively and formally choose to join the proceedings against Mastercard, Visa or both. This can happen only after the CAT has formally ‘certified’ the opt-in cases to proceed.

‘Opt-out’ means that a business is automatically included among the claimants and must only register its interest. If the CAT certifies the claim, and it then succeeds, registered opt-out claimants will be paid their share of damages.

See Who can join the case? for more on who can join the claim.

We have structured the cases so that:

  • Potential opt-in claimants are those with average annual pre-Covid turnover of £100 million or more; and
  • Potential opt-out claimants are those with average annual pre-Covid turnover below £100 million.

See What do I have to do if my business is in the ‘out‘ category, and by when? on what you can do if your business is a potential opt-out or What do I have to do if my business is in the ’in’ category, and by when? if your business is a potential opt-in claimant.

If you are a potential opt-out claimant (average annual turnover 2016-2019 below £100 million), we invite you to register your interest here.

It is important to register, to show your support for this claim. If, for any reason, the claims were not to be certified, many businesses would have no financially-viable way to be compensated.

There is no deadline for registering your interest for the opt-out claims. We do encourage you to do so as soon as possible, as your support will help our case before the Competition Appeal Tribunal.

If you are a potential opt-in claimant (average annual turnover 2016-2019 of £100 million or more), we invite you to join the claim.

It is important to register your interest to show support for this case. 

If the CAT does certify the claims, it will make an order, called a Collective Proceedings Order, after which it will set a deadline for opt-in claimants formally to opt-in. We will then approach you to do this.

If you register your interest, we can more easily keep you informed, and tell you it is time to opt-in.

If you may be an opt-in claimant, you can elect to join either or both of the claims against Mastercard and Visa. If you are concerned about joining a claim against one or the other, we are happy to discuss your concerns. Please call us on 020 81385 617 or email us at

Businesses must be able to accept card payments. You may be concerned that joining the claims will damage your business. Please note:

  • Many hundreds of businesses, including global airlines, hotel groups and retailers (in the UK, most notably, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons), have brought claims against Mastercard and Visa. Some of these claims have since been settled, for example, Sainsbury’s, in 2021.
  • We have set-up two companies to act as claimant representatives, to bring the claims on behalf of claimants. The claimant representatives, rather than the claimants, will be front and centre of the publicity around this case.

The case is funded by a third-party litigation funder, Bench Walk Advisers, and the case is fully insured. A claimant will not need to set aside any budget to participate in the case.

If the case does not succeed (on both the opt-in and opt-out sides), claimants will pay nothing – either towards our costs, or towards the other sides’.

If the claims succeed, then costs and expenses depend on whether you are in the opt-in or opt-out category. If you are in the opt-in category, a share of the damages will pay for the funding and administration of the case. If you are in the opt-out category, no such deduction will be made.

Competition law cases are complex and take time.  The Tribunal will hear our application for certification in April 2024.  After that it is difficult to predict exactly how long the case will last, but we expect at least two years after certification.

We will keep you up to date mainly through the website. We will contact registered potential opt-in claimants directly.

If you are a potential opt-out claimant (that is, your average annual turnover (2016-2019) was less than £100 million) just register your details now, so we can contact you about the case through the website, and so you can show your support. Later, we may ask you to provide data about MIFs you have paid. We can help you with this.

Businesses with an annual turnover of £100 million or more qualify for the opt-in class actions and will need to register their details by clicking on join the claim. Our engagement for opt-in claimants will be conditional on the Competition Appeal Tribunal certifying the claim.

If the case is not successful you will not have to pay the costs of bringing the case to trial. You will also not have to pay any share of the costs the other side incurred in defending the case. The case is financed by a third party litigation funder, Bench Walk Advisors, and is fully insured.

The Proposed Class Representatives have instructed Harcus Parker to act as their solicitors, and Harcus Parker in its turn has instructed a team of leading barristers and an economic expert from the Competition Economists Group.

This is unlikely. A very small number of opt-in claimants may be asked to give evidence on whether and how much they were able to pass on the costs of MIFs to their customers. We can walk you through this process if it becomes relevant.

You can call us on 020 81385 617 to speak to a member of the team or email us at and we will get back to you.