As Sainsbury’s prepares to appeal after it lost a High Court case with Visa over a long-running row over interchange fees, Visa has welcomed the decision which confirms that its interchange fees, are lawful.
The supermarket was seeking damages for losses it alleged to have been caused by the fixing of interchange fees, which it claims breach UK and EU competition laws. These fees are charged to retailers each time a credit or debit card payment is processed.
However, the High Court found that the fees paid are lawful, stating that Sainsbury’s claim “fails in its entirety”. A Sainsbury’s spokeswoman said: “This claim concerned the damage Sainsbury’s maintains was caused by Visa’s breach of UK and EU competition laws in its setting of interchange fees.
“Sainsbury’s is disappointed by the decision of the High Court in finding that Visa had not infringed competition law.”
The ruling comes in the wake of a series of lengthy legal dispute between retailers and card firms after the European Commission investigated interchange fees.
The commission voiced concerns over the practice of fixing these costs at Visa and Mastercard and the European Union has since passed legislation to cap interchange fees permanently.
For its part, Visa said: “Visa welcomes this week’s decision by the UK High Court, which confirmed that our interchange fees, the fees paid by UK retailers and their payment providers to accept electronic payments, are lawful.
“We hope the Court’s decision will accelerate the collaboration between retailers and Visa and will allow us to address the greatest disruption, and potentially the greatest opportunity, facing the merchant community in Europe today: the digitisation of commerce.”
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