Walmart sues Visa for $5B in credit card swipe fees

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Walmart (NYSE: WMT) has filed a lawsuit against Visa for $5 billion, accusing the credit and debit card network of excessively high card swipe fees.

Walmart alleges that Visa conspired with banks to illegally inflate fees that retailers pay on card transactions, and that the fees cost U.S. retailers and shoppers more than $350 billion between 2004 and November 2012.

Walmart is seeking damages for what it claims are violations of federal antitrust laws and swipe fees that cost retailers and shoppers more than $350 billion over the nearly nine-year period in question.

“The anticompetitive conduct of Visa and the banks forced Wal-Mart to raise retail prices paid by its customers and/or reduce retail services provided to its customers as a means of offsetting some of the artificially inflated interchange fees,” Walmart said in court documents, reports Reuters.

The suit, filed Tuesday, comes several months after Walmart opted out of a settlement between 19 retailers and Visa and MasterCard. In December, a federal judge in New York approved a $5.7 billion class action settlement between the retailers and Visa and MasterCard despite the objections of thousands of merchants that complained it was inadequate.

Walmart, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Target (NYSE: TGT) were among those opting out of the monetary components of that suit in order to seek damages on their own.

Following December’s case, the National Retail Federation issued a statement noting its disappointment with the settlement, which it appealed in January with the support of several retail organizations.

“We are very disappointed that this deeply flawed settlement has been approved,” Mallory Duncan, general counsel at the National Retail Federation, said in a statement. “It is not supported by the retail industry and would do nothing to reduce swipe fees or keep them from rising in the future.”

For more:
-See this Reuters article

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
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