On 17 June 2020, the Supreme Court handed down a much anticipated judgment concerning the default multilateral interchange fees (MIFs) set by Mastercard and Visa (together, the Appellants).  The case considered appeals relating to three separate damages actions brought by retailers against the operators of four-party payment schemes, Visa and Mastercard. Underlying each of these claims is an allegation that the fees agreed between banks participating in the Visa or Mastercard payment schemes were higher than they would be in a competitive market, which in turn inflated the charges that merchants paid when accepting Visa or Mastercard payment cards. The cases raised a number of common issues around the competitive counterfactual (what would the fees have been without an
The UK Supreme Court dismisses the two largest payment processing networks’ arguments on the basis that their multilateral interchange fees restricted competition but upholds grounds of appeal concerning the application of the “passing on” defense (Sainsbury’s / Visa / MasterCard)
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