A US federal court has denied a request by Visa International and MasterCard International to overturn the class action status of a lawsuit led by a powerful group of US retailers, according to a report in the FT.
The retailers' case centres on a requirement by Visa and MasterCard that vendors which accept their credit cards must also accept their debit cards and pay what they deem are unfairly high fees on debit transactions, says the Financial Times report.
If the retailers win the class action case, damages from the four million claims would be trebled under federal law and could reach as high as $100 billion, writes the paper.
The card organisations believe the case does not merit class action status and are likely to appeal the ruling.
The defeat marks another legal setback for the two companies, which last week, faced a ruling by a US district judge to allow banking members to issue cards from non-affiliated rivals such as American Express or Morgan Stanley Discover.