If you are a merchant that has accepted Visa and MasterCard credit cards for a reasonable time, are you aware that you may soon be entitled to significant reimbursement of interchange fees?
On October 19, 2012, a Definitive Class Settlement Agreement (“Class Settlement Agreement”) was filed by retailers, Visa, and MasterCard, with a fair-hearing date set for September 12, 2013, at which time the agreement may become final.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
While there is no way to know now exactly how much money claimants, among an estimated 8 million prospective merchants, might receive from the Cash Settlement Fund, at least one firm has estimated each will receive between $400 – 600 for every $100,000.00 of card payments transacted during the designated period of January 1, 2004 through November 28, 2012.1 The actual distribution amount will depend upon such factors as the amount of the fund and the number of claimants.
A separate Interchange Fund is scheduled to distribute to claimants 1/10 of one-percent of transaction volume processed by merchants during an eight-month period to begin no later than July 29, 2013— $10.00 for each $10,000.00 in volume.
WHAT ACTION IS REQUIRED?
To receive funds during distribution, a claim must be filed using the prescribed claim form, which shall become available when the settlement agreement becomes final. At that time, claim forms will be mailed to potential claimants and will also become available for completion on-line at www.paymentcardsettlement.com, the official web-site for the class-action proceedings.
Merchants wishing to opt-out of the class-action or object to its provisions must do so by May 28, 2013. Opting out retains the right to independently sue the defendants for past conduct, yet forfeits the right to receive funds under the settlement agreement.
1 The Green Sheet, April 22, 2013, p. 51. See also www.paymentcardsettlement.com for detailed information.