Harcus Parker class action against Mastercard and Visa
An original and unique claim
We are bringing this claim against all corporate card MIFs and consumer card inter-regional MIFs.
Unlike other individual claims before the courts, targeting principally UK MIFs and other MIFs only by extension, this claim covers all UK businesses (as well as certain non-UK businesses), and is specifically focused on MIFs where the courts have not yet ruled.
Harcus Parker seek to recover the following from Mastercard and Visa:
- Corporate card MIFs on all domestic, EU and inter-regional transactions
- Consumer card MIFs on inter-regional transactions.
FAVOURABLE PRECENDENTS ON THE CORE ELEMENTS OF THE CLAIM
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. Based on their analysis, we say that businesses were also unlawfully charged for accepting corporate cards and consumer cards used across borders (inter-regionally).
These excessive MIFs across the economy could total billions of pounds. Your business could get compensation with interest if the case succeeds.
Join the claim at no cost
Register on this website
We seek to represent all businesses, of all sizes, that accept card payments.
All you need to do to join the claim is to register your details with us on this website. When you register, you will belong to one of two groups:
If your average annual turnover pre-Covid was £100 million or more, you will be in the ‘opt-in’ group. ‘Opt-in’ means that a business must actively and formally choose to join the proceedings against Mastercard, Visa or both. You can choose to join either or both of the claims against Mastercard and Visa. This can happen only after the CAT has formally ‘certified’ the ‘opt-in’ cases to proceed. If the claim is certified to proceed to trial – we will then invite you to opt in formally to this claim. Once you register your details with us, we will contact you to discuss.
If your average annual turnover pre-Covid was less than £100 million you will be in the ‘opt-out’ group. ‘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. That means you are automatically included in the claim, unless you choose to opt out, and will be entitled to a share of any damages or settlement. You can choose not to be part of the claims against Mastercard or Visa by clicking here. Please note that by opting out, you will not be eligible to receive any payment in the future, if compensation is awarded.
The case is fully 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.
No downside risk: claimants will not pay anything towards the claim
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.
Legal and competitive context
Why we are bringing this class action against Mastercard and Visa ?
Mastercard and Visa each entered what we say are anticompetitive agreements with banks. Under these anticompetitive agreements, the MIFs which banks pay have not been set by the market, but by the schemes themselves. Banks then pass on these fees to businesses. We say these fees are anticompetitive and unlawful.
The highest courts in the EU and the UK agree and have ruled accordingly, in regard to consumer card intra-EEA and UK domestic MIFs, respectively. For consumer card inter-regional MIFs, the EU did not reach a formal infringement decision, instead it settled its case in return for the schemes reducing their fees by an average of 40%. The level of this reduction speaks volumes.
Our expert witness testified in the successful consumer card domestic MIF case brought by Sainsbury’s against Mastercard which settled in 2021. This evidence showed that the domestic consumer card MIF was unlawful, and that the MIF should be zero. The Supreme Court (the UK’s highest court) agreed.
Very similar evidence will show that the same is true of consumer inter-regional and commercial card MIFs.
Value of claim
This claim is potentially worth billions of pounds to businesses across the economy. We are seeking a full refund of MIFs incurred by businesses who paid them during the period beginning 15 December 2017 through to the date of judgment. For some claimants, this could amount to tens of millions of pounds or more in excessive charges. We believe that there is a very high chance of winning substantial damages, if the Tribunal certifies the claims. The value of your claim will depend on the nature of the business, the Multilateral Interchange Fees applied, and the percentage rates at which they were applied.
The average corporate card MIF rate is around 1.6%, and the consumer inter-regional card MIF rate around 1.8%, but we say the correct level in both cases should be zero.
This means that for every £100 transaction, up to £1.80 is unlawfully overcharged by the credit card giants on payments made by corporate credit and debit cards, and inter-regional transactions. These costs are borne by businesses. For a sector turning over many billions of pounds annually, this represents a significant overcharge.
The claim will still be highly relevant and valuable even if the Tribunal were to find that businesses have passed some (but not all) of the overcharge to their consumers.
We have developed a sound methodology for accurately assessing the gross value of individual businesses claims. If your average annual turnover is £100 million or over, we can work with you and our economic expert to provide an estimate of the potential value of your claim, at no cost to you.
Harcus Parker is a leading litigation firm, specialising in collective actions – that is, cases brought on behalf of a large number of clients collectively. Tom Ross and Jeremy Robinson steer the firm’s competition litigation department and are recognised leaders in competition law and litigation. Harcus Parker has instructed a team of leading competition law barristers and economists.