Interchange fee litigation

Scott+Scott UK LLP is retained by companies who span the hospitality, retail and communications sectors  to litigate multi-million pounds claims against Visa and MasterCard before the English High Court and Competition Appeal Tribunal. The companies, including Vodafone, Hermes, and Soho House, are seeking compensation for losses resulting from the ‘interchange fees’ charged by Visa and MasterCard.  

The ‘interchange fee’ for each transaction is a fee set by Visa or MasterCard.  Each time a company accepts a Visa or MasterCard debit or credit card, it must pay a ‘merchant service charge’ to the bank that provides the payment services (known as the ‘acquiring bank’).  Typically, over 90% of the merchant service charge consists of the ‘interchange fee’ – the level charged depends on factors such as where the card was issued, whether it is a debit or credit card and whether the transaction was domestic or otherwise. 

The European Commission has investigated Visa and MasterCard’s interchange fees for over a decade on the basis that they were anti-competitive in breach of EU and domestic competition law.  Since then hundreds of companies have issued claims against Visa and MasterCard which are currently being litigated in the English Courts.