Google Sues Visa and MasterCard for Excessive Interchange Fees
Google has filed a lawsuit against Visa and MasterCard for high interchange fees, which the search engine says are in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act. Google filed a three-page complaint with the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas in late December, but they did not say how much money they were seeking in damages.
Google accepted payments from MasterCard and Visa card users between January 1, 2004 and November 28, 2012. During that time, the company had to pay the credit card providers an interchange fee any time someone used a debit or credit card on their payment platform. According to Google, these fees were higher than they were legally supposed to be, costing the company a substantial amount of money in excess expenses.
In 2013, a large group of merchants reached a $5.7 billion settlement with Visa and MasterCard regarding excessive interchange fees. That settlement was originally $7.25 billion and was to be distributed to all merchants who accepted Visa and MasterCard credit and debit cards.
But nearly 25% of the merchants opted out of the settlement, and Google was one of them. Other large retailers like Walmart and Target also opted out, resulting in more than 30 lawsuits against the credit card providers since the settlement.
There is no court date for the Google lawsuit at this time.