THE MERCHANT CLASS ACTION AGAINST MASTERCARD AND VISA
An original and unique claim
This claim is for damages for the unlawful charging of all commercial card MIFs to businesses across the economy.
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 commercial card MIFs.
The Proposed Class Representatives seek to recover commercial card MIFs on transactions where payments were processed in the UK.
FAVOURABLE PRECEDENTS ON THE CORE ELEMENTS OF THE CLAIM
The Proposed Class Representatives 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. For similar reasons, it will be argued that businesses were also unlawfully charged for accepting commercial cards.
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
The Proposed Class Representatives seek to represent all businesses, of all sizes, that accept commercial card payments.
All you need to do to join the claim is to register your details 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 bring this class action against Mastercard and Visa ?
Mastercard and Visa each entered what we say are anticompetitive agreements with acquiring banks. Under these anticompetitive agreements, the MIFs which acquiring banks pay to card issuing banks and institutions 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 ruled against consumer card intra-EEA and UK domestic MIFs. 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 proposed 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 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 commercial card MIFs incurred by businesses. 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 commercial card MIF rate is around 1.6%but we say the correct level should be zero.
This means that for every £100 transaction, up to £1.60 is unlawfully overcharged by the credit card giants on payments made by commercial credit and debit cards. These costs are borne by businesses and represent a significant overcharge across the economy.
The claim will still be highly relevant and valuable even if the Tribunal were to find that businesses had 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.
The Proposed Class Representatives in this case have instructed Harcus Parker as their solicitors to bring the case. 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 barristers and economists.