Preliminary Approval Granted in Interchange Settlement

Preliminary Approval Granted in Landmark Settlement Between Retailers and Payment Card Industry

On November 9, 2012, the Honorable Judge John Gleeson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York granted preliminary approval of the landmark settlement agreement between retailers, payment networks and nine major card issuers, over merchant interchange fees.  The settlement was originally announced on July 13th after several years of litigation.

“We view Judge Gleeson’s ruling today as further indication that this historic settlement is a fair and balanced resolution to the epic swipe fee battle,”
-Trish Wexler, spokeswoman for the Electronic Payments Coalition.

“We view Judge Gleeson’s ruling today as further indication that this historic settlement is a fair and balanced resolution to the epic swipe fee battle,” said Trish Wexler, spokeswoman for the Electronic Payments Coalition.  “After seven years of negotiation, two years of mediation, and compromise by both sides, the judicial process continues to work effectively and we have taken another important step toward settling this dispute between retailers and the payment card industry.”

The preliminary approval of this historic settlement will almost immediately give retailers the many benefits they demanded.  Sixty days from today, the card networks will implement rule changes.  Merchants will now have the ability to add checkout fees (a retailer surcharge) at the register and form buying groups.

Today’s action by the Court follows “objections” by a number of retailers – objections the Judge carefully considered, but concluded that they provide no basis to deny preliminary approval of the settlement.  It is anticipated that these retailers will continue to raise concerns throughout the process.

“Let’s be clear – the objections from retailer lobbying groups are largely politically motivated, in hopes of influencing Congress to give them even more political handouts,” said Wexler.  “Regardless, we remain entirely confident that the settlement will ultimately be approved – it is time to put an end to this epic battle.”