The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) has criticized the proposed swipe fee settlement and urges class plaintiffs to reject the proposal. Announced in July, the proposed settlement stems from lawsuits challenging the anticompetitive swipe fee practices of Visa and MasterCard. “While Visa and MasterCard’s decision to pursue a settlement affirms the legitimacy of retailers’ claims, the flawed proposal upholds the networks’ anticompetitive practices and fails to provide retailers and their consumers with meaningful relief from tens of billions of dollars in hidden fees,” says RILA President Sandy Kennedy. “We urge class plaintiffs to reject the proposal and send a clear message that a settlement that fails to engender competition and fix the broken electronic payments market is unacceptable.”
If the proposed settlement is ultimately approved, all retailers will be bound by its terms. Among the many proposed terms that concern retailers is the release of Visa and MasterCard from any future legal claims related to their interchange practices and terms that could stifle emerging innovations, such as mobile payments. “Retailers are concerned that in addition to limiting their future legal options, the proposed settlement preserves the Visa/MasterCard duopoly and constrains emerging innovations that could bring meaningful competition to the marketplace,” Kennedy adds.
RILA joins numerous other organizations speaking out in opposition to the proposal, including the National Association of Convenience Stores, the National Grocers Association, the National Cooperative Grocers Association, and the National Community Pharmacists Association.