Visa Sued By Target, Macy’s And Others On Fees

Visa Inc (NYSE:V) is in trouble with major US retailers over the way it handles and prices processing fees. The lawsuit is a break from a $7 billion settlement that Visa and Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA) offered to retailers in an antitrust case against the company. It is clear that many retailers are looking to go their own way on the deal.

Visa logo

The case centers around what are called swipe fees, or processing charges. Millions of retailers accused Visa Inc (NYSE:V) and Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA) of pumping up those fees to levels beyond what was fair in a free market. The two credit card giants offered a settlement to retailers last year, but it seems clear that it was not substantial enough to dissuade many firms.

The case that came to light today was filed in the District Court in Manhattan, and had some major retailers behind it, including Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) and Macy’s Inc. (NYSE:M). Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) and several other retailers are still trying to decide whether or not to pursue Visa Inc (NYSE:V) and Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA), though they have opted out of the settlement.

Other big names behind the newly filed lawsuit are J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP), Kohl’s Corporation (NYSE:KSS) The TJX Companies, Inc. (NYSE:TJX). There are other firm’s still deciding whether or not to pursue Visa Inc (NYSE:V) individually, or to take the money offered in the settlement.

On May 28, merchants around the country have to decide whether or not to take the settlement from Visa Inc (NYSE:V). If they refuse the payout, they will still have the ability to pursue the companies in court. It’s clear that Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) and Macy’s Inc. (NYSE:M) have chosen to reject the settlement.

On today’s market, shares in Visa Inc (NYSE:V) fell by a fraction below 1 percent, standing at $178.82 at time of writing. So far in 2013, shares in the credit card company have risen by close to 18 percent on a strong stock market and hopes that domestic spending will see the firm’s income spiral upward.

Visa Inc (NYSE:V) and Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA) might be bogged down in these legal actions for the rest of the year, and it could last even longer depending on the determination of the plaintiffs. It could drag on credit card profits for the rest of the year, if the cases are expansive and settlements large.

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Paul Shea
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