NRF opposes swipe fee settlement

Washington, D.C. – The National Retail Federation (NRF) is formally opposing the proposed settlement of a federal antitrust lawsuit brought by 19 trade associations and six retailers in 2005. The lawsuit involves “swipe fees” charged for credit card transactions by Visa and Mastercard. Retailers that agree to settlement terms are eligible for a share of a $7.25 billion settlement.

However, the NRF says the proposed settlement does not introduce transparency into the swipe fee process or reform what the NRF terms swipe fee “price fixing,” and also creates a new surcharge for consumers. Retailers who do not opt out of the settlement by May 28 will be assumed to have accepted it.

“The proposed settlement does nothing to bring swipe fees under control and would give Visa and MasterCard a legal blessing to continue their abuse of merchants and consumers indefinitely,” NRF senior VP and General Counsel Mallory Duncan said. “No settlement at all would be better than this one-sided ‘agreement’ written by the card companies for the card companies that would tie retailers’ hands for decades to come.”