MasterCard to pay Sainsbury's £68.6 million after losing interchange battle

MasterCard to pay Sainsbury's £68.6 million after losing interchange battle

MasterCard is to pay £68.6 million to the UK supermarket chain Sainsbury's after losing a Competition Appeal Tribunal hearing over interchange fees.

The card scheme, which is facing a £19 billion class action lawsuit in the UK over allegations that it imposed "illegal" card fees that were ultimately borne by UK consumers, says it will take to take a pre-tax charge of approximately US$90 million as a special item in its second quarter 2016 financial results reflecting the judgment.

In a statement on the ruling, MasterCard says: "While we are disappointed to see liability as part of the finding, we note that in awarding a limited portion of the claimed damages, the court concluded that Sainsbury’s did not pass through interchange costs to consumers in the form of higher prices.”

Nonetheless, the company says it is currently evaluating the implications of the judgment "to determine if any adjustment to the judgment amount or additional charges for other costs would be required".

In June last year, MasterCard shelled out $61 million to UK supermarket chain Tesco in the first of an expected wave of settlements by card schemes over interchange fee lawsuits lodged by British retailers. Tesco was one of 20 UK retailers which filed suit against MasterCard in 2013 alleging historic overpayment of 'anti-competitive' interchange fees.

Comments: (6)

Hitesh Thakkar
Hitesh Thakkar - FIS Payments Software and Services India - India 14 July, 2016, 14:54Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

It looks like Pentalty Shoot of Football game where Goalkeeper remains MasterCard and U retailers started calling shoots.

Richard Sanders
Richard Sanders - Hermosa Consulting - Southend on Sea 14 July, 2016, 15:061 like 1 like

My concern with all these payments is how Regulators assess the amounts involved which seem massive and what the 'beneficiary' will do with it. Also no Regulator has yet asked for a mechanism to ensure all the interchange cuts are being passed on to the consumer and not being kept by merchants. Small businesses I understand may struggle to devise a tracking mechanism but for Tier 1 and 2 merchants it should at least be reviewed by Regulators.

Geoffrey Barraclough
Geoffrey Barraclough - Barraclough and Co - London 15 July, 2016, 08:31Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

This is not a particularly helpful article. I wonder if the readership of Finextra could add some details on what were these "illegal card fees" and whether any other retailers are impacted?

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 17 July, 2016, 09:262 likes 2 likes

I have been working with a law firm in UK who, in partnership with a US firm, have a sucessful interchange reclaim track record in USA (circa $300mill). I'd be delighted to pass on the paper they have written to help you understand the issues and also act as a guide to the process. Or just introduce you to them as they are in negotiations with Visa and Mastercard here in Europe that they stalled ahead of the Sainsbury's outcome. 

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 20 July, 2016, 10:54Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Hi Andrew, 

Not sure how I can get in contact with you to inquire about paper you mentioned. I also don't mind an introduction to them as I have some additional info which can be mutually beneficial. cheers,

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 20 July, 2016, 11:58Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes If it helps (and is OK to post) my email is andrew@miliana.co.uk
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