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MasterCard hit with £68.6 million interchange fee fine

MasterCard has been hit with a £68.6 million fine to be paid to Sainsbury’s after losing a Competition Appeal Tribunal over interchange fees.

MasterCard is involved in a raft of litigation over interchange fees on the use of its credit and debit cards,
MasterCard cards image

MasterCard hit with £68.6 million interchange fee fine

having been found by the European Commission to have abused its dominant market position by charging the anti-competitive rates.

The card scheme, which is facing a £19 billion class action lawsuit in the UK over allegations that it imposed “illegal” card fees that were ultimately borne by UK consumers, says it will take to take a pre-tax charge of approximately $90 million as a special item in its Q2 2016 financial results reflecting the judgement.

In a statement on the ruling, MasterCard says: “While we are disappointed to see liability as part of the finding, we note that in awarding a limited portion of the claimed damages, the court concluded that Sainsbury’s did not pass through interchange costs to consumers in the form of higher prices.”

Nonetheless, the company says it is currently evaluating the implications of the judgement “to determine if any adjustment to the judgement amount or additional charges for other costs would be required”.

In June last year, MasterCard paid $61 million to Tesco in the first of an expected wave of settlements by card schemes over interchange fee lawsuits lodged by British retailers. Tesco was one of 20 UK retailers which filed suit against MasterCard in 2013 alleging historic overpayment of ‘anti-competitive’ interchange fees.

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