Visa and MasterCard may owe money to your small business. The credit card giants are paying $5.54 billion as part of a class action settlement. 

To receive your fair share, your business must prepare and file a claim. Then, instead of receiving a credit card bill, you will get a check. 

What did the credit card companies do wrong? 

The court battle centered on interchange fees, which credit card companies charge merchants. The fee usually amounts to 1% or 2% of a sale. After a 13-year legal fight, Visa and MasterCard are settling a suit for fixing prices. 

The settlement is especially important to small merchants because larger retailers opted out. They make their own, less costly interchange deals with the credit card companies. In effect, this means more money from the settlement is set aside for small businesses like yours. 

What can you do? 

To receive money from the settlement, you must file a valid claim. One stumbling block: The legal process is ongoing, thanks to an appeal. Forms are not available until the appeal is complete, but you can prepare now for filing your claim. 

One thing you are no doubt wondering is how much you might receive from the settlement. It covers what you paid in actual and estimated interchange fees from Jan. 1, 2004, through Jan. 25, 2019. Other factors include the total value of all claims, taxes, court costs, etc. 

The case is complex, to say the least, taking 13 years to get this far. To be successful in your claim, you need to understand the legal complexities. 

What does it mean? 

The case is about money, of course. It also is about justice, about the “little guys” winning a major battle against the credit card giants. 

You work hard to keep your business going and to pay your bills. Following the Visa-MasterCard case is to your financial benefit.