Mastercard suffered a blow in its battle over interchange pricing in the United Kingdom. On Dec. 11, 2020, the UK's highest court, the Supreme Court, ruled that the country's Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) must reconsider a class action-style lawsuit filed against Mastercard on behalf of millions of consumers that CAT had previously rejected.
The lawsuit seeks 14 billion British Pounds ($18.6 billion) in alleged overcharges UK consumers paid for goods and services because of Mastercard interchange fees. While class action lawsuits are common in the United States, in the UK such lawsuits are rare. A law enacted by the UK in 2015 opened the door for consumer group litigation involving purported violations of the country's fair competition laws.
ATM industry leader LeRoy Huntimer will long be remembered for his friendly disposition and stewardship of the ATM community. Huntimer, who passed away from cancer on Dec. 9, 2020, was senior vice president, sponsorship services at PB&T Bank and an active participant in industry affairs.
David Tente, U.S. executive director at the ATM Industry Association recalled Huntimer had generously devoted time to ATMIA's governmental relations, independent ATM deployers and sponsoring financial institutions committees, as well as ATMIA's U.S. regional board of directors. His involvement earned him the ATMIA Outstanding Service Award in 2016 and 2018, Tente noted.
Randy Vanderhoof retired after 18 years of leadership at the Secure Technology Alliance and U.S. Payments Forum. Vanderhoof said it was time to pass the torch to a new generation of payments leaders. "My 18 years as Executive Director of the Secure Technology Alliance (and Smart Card Alliance) and eight years as Director of the U.S. Payments Forum (and EMV Migration Forum) have been the most personally satisfying and professionally stimulating years of my life," Vanderhoof stated.
"At 62 years old and with a desire for spending less time at airports and meeting hotels and more time at my second home that people from New Jersey call the 'Jersey Shore,' I determined it was the right time for me to begin to transition away from the full-time demands running two vibrant, member-driven organizations."
On Dec. 13, 2020, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency published an advisory detailing how cybercriminals—identified by U.S. National Security analysts as Russian state-sponsored cyber actors—had breached the highest levels of the U.S. government. Analysts have said, however, that numerous cyber criminals are on the hunt, creating a new normal of heightened cyber assaults on businesses and governments alike.
The advanced persistent threat began in March 2020, when adversaries employed a series of tactics, techniques and procedures to escape detection as they infiltrated numerous government departments. "The adversary is using a complex network of IP addresses to obscure their activity, which can result in a detection opportunity referred to as 'impossible travel,'" CISA analysts wrote.
Visa disclosed that its next round of interchange rate changes won't take hold until the spring. Bloomberg News reported it had reviewed a document Visa recently sent merchants explaining that it will leave most interchange rates intact until April due to the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on sales. No similar correspondence has been seen from Mastercard, but the two companies' timetables for interchange rate changes tend to be similar. Visa and Mastercard typically update interchange rates twice a year. In February 2020, Visa disclosed rate hikes for several transaction categories, most notably ecommerce purchases, while also revealing reductions for verticals like grocery, health care, education and real estate. But as state and local stay-at-home orders and business closures brought commerce to a crawl, both companies opted to back-burner rate hikes.
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