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MasterCard, Visa agree to pay $197m to settle 175m consumers’ ATM fee lawsuit

*Digital financial service consumers have accused MasterCard and Visa of anti-competitive behaviour by controlling fees charged by Automated Teller Machine network providers

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

MasterCard and Visa two global giants of the payments industry, have agreed to settle a class lawsuit, which 175 million consumers had brought against the firms over controlling charges for Automated Teller Machines (ATM) transactions.

ConsumerConnect learnt the ATM service consumers had accused MasterCard and Visa – defendants – of anti-competitive behaviour by directing fees charged by ATM networks.

According to court papers, MasterCard and Visa have agreed to pay a combined $197 million to settle the case.

Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America previously agreed to a $66 million settlement.

The two credit card companies agreed to the settlement after they were unsuccessful in persuading the United States (US) Supreme Court to hear the case.

However, both MasterCard and Visa denied any wrongdoing T, while the settlement is subject to court approval, as the presiding still needs to sign off on the deal, agency report said.

In terms of the likely impact of the settlement on the affected consumers, the plaintiffs’ attorneys said the settlement would “deliver immediate and assured relief.”

The attorneys suggested that ATM fees might be rolled back, or future increases might be limited.

As for compensation, there might not be much, since there are 175 million members of the class in the lawsuit. After the lawyers are paid, $197 million may not go that far, report stated.

Reports also indicated that another lawsuit for consumers who used ATMs not run by a bank is still going on, and so is one from merchants, claiming the credit card companies overcharged them too.

Commenting on the development, Doug Kantor, General Counsel for the National Association of Convenience Stores, in the American country, reportedly said: “The big problem has been that Visa and MasterCard, in all aspects of their business, fix these prices and make them artificially high.

“The more courts step in and show them that that is not a good way to do business, the better off consumers will be.”

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