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Wal-Mart Sues Visa for $5 Billion Over Too-High Card Swipe Fees

Image: Wal-Mart Sues Visa for $5 Billion Over Too-High Card Swipe Fees

By Morgan Chilson   |   Friday, 28 Mar 2014 03:13 PM

Wal-Mart has filed a lawsuit against Visa for $5 billion, accusing the credit card company of working with banks to illegally fix the rates that are charged in-store when customers swipe their cards.

Wal-Mart contends that the fixed prices cost the company $5 billion. The case was filed as a federal antitrust case, which allows the retail giant to ask for damages of $15 billion, CNN said.

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Swipe fees are charged by credit companies to retailers, and occur whenever a customer uses a credit card.

In a previous anti-trust lawsuit, which settled in 2012, Mastercard and Visa agreed to forfeit more than $7 billion to 7 million retailers named in the suit, and at that time agreed to conditions that would, among other things, reduce swipe fees paid by merchants.

But some retailers, primary large companies, weren’t happy with the conditions on that settlement and chose to pull out. Wal-Mart, Target, Macy’s Inc., and Amazon were four that did so.

Wal-Mart’s latest legal maneuver in a court battle that’s lasted eight years was made in U.S. District Court in the Arkansas’ Western District.

The lawsuit between two of the largest companies in the country hinges on the accusation that Visa, along with other credit card companies, sets fees at too high of a level because there is no competition, Fox Business News said. Wal-Mart and others that chose not to settle also said the 2012 agreement didn’t address the likelihood that credit card networks would raise fees later or whether Visa and others would require companies to waive rights to sue, Fox said.

Visa has maintained that company practices are not anticompetitive.

In the lawsuit, Wal-Mart also said Visa has harmed credit card security by failing to update to cards that use computer chips and PINs, which are safer than the magnetic strips used currently, Fox said.

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