If facing over 10 lawsuits concerning cross-border interchange fees wasn’t enough for MasterCard, German state rail company Deutsche Bahn and United Kingdom supermarket chain Sainsbury have announced they are also suing the network.
The lawsuits stem from a 2007 European Union antitrust agency decision that stated MasterCard’s fees on cross-border transactions violated antitrust rules and forced retailors to pay more when processing payments. MasterCard’s appeal in May was turned down but since then, the company had made further appeals to the EU’s highest court.
According to EuroCommerce, a European retailers association, MasterCard’s fees cost stores throughout the EU some 25 billion euros ($33 billion). However, other members of the card network including HSBC and RBS have said that the interchange fees were crucial for mitigating costs over accepting debit and credit card payments.
The announcement of the new lawsuits is just another chapter in the interchange story, one which will not conclude for some time. If MasterCard is unable to win over the EU’s highest court, expect companies to target other revenue generating or cost savings paths, similar to those taken here in the United States following the Durbin Amendment.
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