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Walmart sues Visa over transaction fees
March 28th, 2014
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Walmart has sued Visa Inc. for allegedly conspiring with banks to illegally fix and inflate transaction fees the retailer pays on card transactions.
The suit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, seeks at least $5 billion in damages for what it claims are violations of federal antitrust laws.
Walmart claims that the way the financial companies set "swipe fees" generated more than $350 billion for card issuers from January 2004 to November 2012, inflicting "enormous damage" on the retailer.
It is the latest salvo in the ongoing legal battle between card issuers and retailers over fees assessed on credit- and debit-card transactions.
"Visa’s monopoly power has enabled it to dictate price and inhibit competition,” Walmart said in its complaint.
The lawsuit comes after Walmart opted out of a $5.7 billion settlement over card fees between 19 merchants and Visa and MasterCard Inc. in December.
Opponents of the settlement, including Walmart, Target Corp. and Amazon.com Inc., complained that it didn’t pay enough in damages and unfairly blocked merchants from taking future legal action if fees became bloated again.