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.