In what is shaping up to be a “high-noon” moment in payment card history, retailers and card networks seem ready to meet at an ultimate showdown in a New York courtroom. The latest move is Visa filing a lawsuit last week against Wal-Mart. Citing its intent to “support mutual growth objectives”, Visa has made it clear it intends to forcefully defend the interchange-fee system against charges of price fixing.
“Put simply, Visa seeks finality in its dispute with Wal-Mart,” the Foster City , California-based credit card firm said in the complaint.
Current market momentum, however, is not favorable to the traditional interchange fee rationale of balanced value between merchant and issuer. Governments worldwide are questioning interchange fee structures and these dynamics require a vigorous response by those entities most dependent on its survival. Yet, this lawsuit pinpoints the argument between two market leaders and could also result in a less visible settlement than the original interchange fee lawsuit afforded them.
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