ATMIA Files Amicus Brief Regarding the Proposed Mastercard/Visa Card Settlement
SIOUX FALLS, SD and NEW YORK, NY, November 2, 2012 — The ATM Industry Association (ATMIA) today announced that it has filed an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief in the U.S. District Court of Eastern New York, in conjunction with other opponents of the proposed class action settlement between merchants and MasterCard/VISA. ATMIA contends that the language of the agreement is so broad and vague that it might be construed to include ATM deployers, even though the original claims were made by merchants engaged in the sale of goods or services.
The proposed settlement would presumably end many years of disputes between merchants and the two card brands over interchange fees and surcharging. Merchants would finally gain the right to impose surcharges on credit card purchases, as well as share in approximately $7.3B in payments and temporary interchange reductions as damages. MasterCard and VISA, in turn, receive a broad release of all related claims – both current and future.
ATMIA asserts that the proposed agreement is flawed as currently written. Most “ATM cards” have been replaced by debit cards, which can be used either for ATM transactions or purchases at the point of sale. MasterCard and VISA debit cards represent the vast majority of that market. As a result, the settlement class definition captures a majority of the cards used for ATM transactions and, thus, the deployers of those ATMs. But even if the ATM deployers were drawn into the settlement class, they would not be eligible to receive an award of damages, because an ATM deposit/withdrawal transaction is not a purchase. Therefore, an ATM deployer could involuntarily become a party to this class action settlement, and at the same time, be barred from receiving any benefit.
The ATM Industry Association is requesting that the proposed settlement not receive preliminary approval from the Court. Or, that the agreement language be revised to make clear that ATM deployers and operators are not included within the scope of this settlement.
About the ATM Industry Association
The ATM Industry Association is a global non-profit trade association with over 3,700 members in 60 countries. Its mission is to promote ATM convenience, growth and usage worldwide, to protect the ATM industry’s assets, interests, good name and public trust; and to provide education, best practices, political voice and networking opportunities for member organizations. More information about ATMIA can be found on their website, www.atmia.com.