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Wal-Mart disapproves of $7.25 billion credit card fee settlement

This opposition may keep Visa and Mastercard’s historic settlement from being approved

The largest antitrust settlement in history is not good enough for Wal-Mart. Last week, Visa and Mastercard agreed to pay $7.25 billion to settle allegations that they fixed credit and debit card fees. But Wal-Mart announced on Tuesday that it opposes the settlement, in large part because it allows the credit card companies to raise the fees in the future.

In its statement, Wal-Mart said the settlement “would not structurally change the broken market or prohibit credit card networks from continually increasing hidden swipe fees, which already cost consumers tens of billions of dollars each year.” The swipe fees it refers to are deducted from each credit or debit card transaction by banks, and can cost retailers 2 percent or more per purchase. The retail giant also objected to the release from future antitrust litigation that would be awarded to Visa and Mastercard.

Wal-Mart’s objection (along with that of Target and the National Association of Convenience Stores) puts the settlement in real danger of not being approved by the federal judge, according to Forbes. This is especially distressing news for K. Craig Wildfang of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, who negotiated the deal. If it’s approved, Wildfang could rake in hundreds of millions of dollars in fees.

“We encourage all merchants to put consumers first and reject the settlement,” Wal-Mart said.

 

Read more InsideCounsel coverage of the case:

Visa, MasterCard and banks agree to $7.25 billion settlement over credit card price fixing allegations

Merchants say card companies’ liable for more than $10 billion in damages

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