Bickel PLLC

Could European interchange laws help your restaurant?

How much are Visa and MasterCard really contributing to your business? It’s clear they play a role, and they’re happy to take a cut every time a customer whips out a credit card to pay for drinks or dessert. But are they contributing enough to merit the interchange fees they charge? Europeans don’t think so.

The European Union recently won a big concession from the credit card companies. To avoid steeper antitrust penalties, Visa and MasterCard agreed to lower their rates on the fees they charge for purchases made in the EU with foreign cards. While this will obviously help EU retailers, it’s a good sign for your business as well.

Recent decisions against Visa and MasterCard help retailers recover billions

The EU’s deal with the credit card companies, along with a 2018 U.S. settlement, could help retailers recover billions upon billions of dollars. And these recent developments may also serve as strong precedent for other class action lawsuits against the companies. Because both the compromise and settlement question whether the companies have been artificially inflating their swipe fees, Visa and MasterCard now find their backs pressed up even closer to the wall of antitrust regulation.

While the U.S. retailers involved in the recent settlement have agreed to a five-year ban on new suits against Visa and MasterCard, many of the largest retailers opted not to join the suit. Those companies, as well as any that opt out of the recent settlement, may still take legal action.

The battle is not over

The recent decisions against Visa and MasterCard may have put billions of dollars back in retailers’ cash registers, but they don’t necessarily force the credit cards to change their behaviors. On the contrary, there were suggestions in the wake of the settlement that Visa and MasterCard were planning to raise their interchange rates.

It’s clear that the companies understand the risks presented by antitrust actions and that they’re still happy to take their cut of your profits. But since they’re not taking orders or working in the kitchen, are they really doing enough to demand higher wages? Their recent compromise with the EU reads a lot like an acknowledgement that they aren’t.

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Bickel PLLC
3405 Milton Ave
Suite 200
Dallas, TX 75205

Phone: 214-537-8100
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