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Thursday, August 5, 2021

NAC wins class action against Visa, Mastercard

An Aug. 4, 2021, decision by The U.S. District Court, District of Columbia, affirmed independent ATM deployers' right to fair and transparent surcharge pricing after a lengthy legal battle between parties represented by the National ATM Council Inc. and major card brands Visa and Mastercard.

At issue is the right for consumers and ATM industry stakeholders to withdraw cash at retail ATMs without added penalties, which are alternatively called access fees or foreign ATM fees, NAC representatives stated.

The lawsuit, filed by NAC and 13 ISOs in 2011, was initially rejected by a circuit court and later reinstated after counsel, led by Jonathan L. Rubin, partner at MoginRubin LLP, successfully appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which affirmed the class action lawsuit's right to a hearing.

Bruce Renard, executive director at NAC, thanked Richard J. Leon, U.S. District Judge for certifying the class of Independent ATM Operators in NAC's longstanding antitrust litigation versus VISA and Mastercard.

"Class certification is the most significant legal hurdle for plaintiffs to pass in a case like this, and so yesterday's victory is particularly important and encouraging," he said. "Moreover, the court's order is grounded in rock solid facts and legal precedent and should withstand any potential appeal that may be brought by defendants."

No more differential surcharging

Renard further noted that with class certification in place, NAC looks forward to the global card networks' current anticompetitive "no differential surcharging" rules being eliminated as soon as possible, and to the affected parties receiving the damage awards they deserve as a class.

The U.S. District Court decision stated that class members were overcharged "precisely the same per-transaction amount at any given time for every authorized, surcharge-bearing ATM cash withdrawal settled and cleared over the defendants' networks, and that aggregate, class-wide damages are directly calculable from the total number of transactions processed by each of defendants' networks using a reasonable estimate of the extent of the anticompetitive overcharge."

Judge Leon upheld plaintiff groups' motions to grant class certification, stating the class action was a favorable and efficient way to resolve their claims, which are similar to other class actions. "Concentrating these claims, and these cases, in a single forum promotes judicial efficiency and uniformity of decisions," he wrote in his decision, while noting that complicated antitrust cases involving tens of thousands of potential class members and few individualized cases would merely create more trials with the same issues and evidence. end of article

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