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Supreme Court decision a win for large retailers

BY Marianne Wilson

The way has been cleared for retailers to challenge swipe fees in the coming years.

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to reinstate a class-action lawsuit settlement that would have blocked merchants from challenging Visa and MasterCard over credit card swipe fees.

In refusing to take up the case, the Supreme Court left in place last year’s ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that struck down the $7.25 billion antitrust settlement between Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. and a group of mostly smaller merchants.

The settlement was opposed by many large retailers, and the National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) both asked the court to let the appeals court ruling stand.

“If this settlement had been approved, the structure of fees that drive up the prices of everything consumers buy would have been cemented into place forever,” said Mallory Duncan, senior VP and general counsel, National Retail Federation. “Now something can finally be done to bring these fees under control.”

“We are pleased that the Supreme Court decided to leave the lower court’s ruling in place," said Deborah White senior executive VP and general counsel, RILA. “Merchants and consumers continue to suffer from the anti-competitive practices of banks and card networks. We now have a fresh opportunity to curb these unfair practices.”

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