Technology/Services

Visa, Mastercard Swipe-Fee Settlement Claim Process Moves Forward

18 million businesses, including c-stores and grocers, to receive notices starting Dec. 1
visa mastercard swipe fee
Photograph: Shutterstock

The 18 million businesses, including convenience-store retailers and grocers, that accepted Visa or Mastercard branded payment cards from 2004 to 2019 will begin receiving claim notices in early December as part of a $5.54 billion class-action settlement. Certificate Clearing Corp. (CCC) is offering to monetize claims by bidding to purchase the claims for an early payout.

For many card-centric retailers, the case represents an opportunity to reclaim a portion of their transaction fees paid during the period, CCC said.

The class-action suit alleged Visa and Mastercard colluded on the interchange or “swipe” fees that they charged merchants in the United States from Jan. 1, 2004, and Jan. 25, 2019. Any business or entity paying these fees (typically 1% to 2% of sales) during that period is eligible to file a claim. The claims administrator plans to begin distributing claim notices on Dec. 1, 2023, and the filing window closes May 31, 2024.

Each claimant’s share of the $4.8 billion total award, net of administrator and legal fees, will be proportional to their total interchange fees paid during the class period, and will be calculated after the filing period ends. This final pro rata calculation will hinge on the redemption rate—the percentage of eligible claimants who actually filed accepted claims, CCC said.

CCC assumes a near-100% redemption rate when estimating final awards for clients, it said. “If everyone in the class files an accepted claim, we project they may recover approximately 1% of their interchange fees paid over the 15-year period,” said Brian Blockovich, CCC president and general counsel. “So, a store with total interchange fees of $1 million through the period would receive about a $10,000 award payment.”

If the redemption rate is not that high, the payback will be even greater, according to CCC.

“Large settlements like this typically take three to five years. Given the class size and potential disputes over the logged interchange fee data, we expect the process to extend far into the future—perhaps five years or more,” said CCC CEO James Tharin.

CCC bids to purchase claims. Monetization gives businesses immediate liquidity, it said, without the uncertainties of waiting years. CCC takes on the risks, betting on an upside opportunity to recover a greater amount depending on the ultimate redemption rate, the company said.

Claim forms are being delivered and are available online beginning Dec. 1, 2023. Class members need not sign up for a third-party service in order to participate in any monetary relief. No-cost assistance is available from the Class Administrator and Class Counsel during the claims-filing period.

Certificate Clearing Corporation (CCC) is part of Chicago Clearing Corp.’s family of companies. CCC has been filing claims and recovering settlement proceeds for harmed claimants in class action litigations for more than 30 years, with more than 13 million individual claims filed and more than $2 billion dollars recovered for harmed class members across hundreds of class-action settlements, it said.

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