Visa and MasterCard to face litigation on antitrust charges.
The National ATM Council, a group representing operators of automated teller machines (ATMs), filed a lawsuit against Visa and MasterCard accusing the credit and debit card issuers of violating antitrust laws by fixing the price of ATM access fees, the Huffington Post reported.
The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of the National ATM Council and independent ATM operators. Its allegations include restraint of trade, and that Visa and MasterCard network rules prohibit ATM operators from offering lower prices for transactions over PIN-debit networks that are not affiliated with Visa or MasterCard.
The lawsuit also claims the price fixing artificially raises the price consumers pay for ATM services, limits ATM operator revenue, and violates antitrust laws, and that rules by card issuers prevent an operator from offering consumers a discount for ATM transactions not completed over Visa or MasterCard networks, according to the Huffington Post.
“Visa and MasterCard are the ringleaders, organizers, and enforcers of a conspiracy among U.S. banks to fix the price of ATM access fees in order to keep the competition at bay,” Jonathan Rubin, of the Rubin PLLC law firm which represents the plaintiffs, said in a statement.
If the case be granted class action status, the plaintiffs would be comprised of independent operators of some 200,000 ATMs in the U.S., according to Rubin.