3 major U.S. banks sued for colluding on ATM fees

Lawsuit alleges BofA, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo worked with Visa and MasterCard to fix prices

It seems like it was only a matter of time before someone accused the banks, too.

With a spate of lawsuits being filed in the last week on the suddenly hot topic of automated teller machines (ATM), a New Jersey man yesterday filed a suit against a number of banks, alleging that they colluded with card providers to fix the fees they charge customers seeking to withdraw money.

Justin Genese filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, accusing Bank of America (BofA), JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo of working with card issuers Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. to set artificially inflated ATM fees. The plaintiff is seeking class action status.

According to the lawsuit, the banks allegedly benefit from the higher rates they set with the card providers when they collect access fees.

Genese’s suit follows hot on the heels of the lawsuit filed last week by angry ATM operators, also in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The National ATM Council and other independent operators accused Visa and MasterCard of prohibiting ATM operators from offering lower prices for transactions over PIN-debit networks not affiliated with the card issuers. The lawsuit charges the card issuers with restraint of trade and seeks class action status.

“Visa and MasterCard are the ringleaders, organizers, and enforcers of a conspiracy among U.S. banks to fix the price of ATM access fees in order to keep the competition at bay,” said Jonathan Rubin of Rubin PLLC, one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers, in a statement. “Were it not for these anticompetitive rules, Visa and MasterCard would face real competition for ATM services, consumers would pay lower prices for using ATMs, and more ATMs would be deployed.”

A representative for MasterCard told the Washington Post that Genese’s lawsuit is without merit and that it will vigorously refute the claims.

None of the lawsuits filed seek monetary damages.

For more on the suits, read the Washington Post.

Contributing Author

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