If you have thought that payment processing fees are unfairly high lately, there’s a court settlement proving you right. Visa and MasterCard have been caught colluding together to unjustly raise payment processing interchange fees. Acting as monopolies, these two payment processing powerhouses are now involved in a class action lawsuit that is set to come to head in November of 2019. On this date a court will hold a Fairness Hearing which will decide if it’s just that these two companies owe American business owners $5.54 – $6.24 billion. [UPDATE: The court granted final approval of a $5.54 billion settlement on December 13, 2019.]
How Can the Visa MasterCard Settlement Help You?
Merchants who were processing Visa or MasterCard transactions January 1st, 2004 – January 1, 2019 are entitled to a portion of the settlement. Your portion is based on the interchange fees you paid during that 15-year span. So, a 20 year-old business will receive a larger check than one who opened in 2016. The court has given a preliminary approval for a settlement of at least $5.54 billion. Also, it’s easy to get a piece of it. However, the check that your business is owed will be written to your business, not the owner. This means that if you sold your business after January 1, 2019, the new owner receives the settlement money. The only exception to this rule is if you used your own SSN instead of an Employment Identification Number when registering your business.
Where’s the Claim Form?
The claim form isn’t available yet. It will become accessible at some point after the Fairness Hearing on November 7th concludes. [UPDATE: As of February 2021, the claim form is still not yet available]. The steps you can take now are still crucial, though. In order to receive that claim form by mail, you should pre-register and update your business address. If you don’t, there’s a chance you might not receive a claim form, or impersonators could try to steal your settlement check. Make sure to get it done before they do! They’ll likely see $6.25 billion dollars in settlement checks as an easy payday! There’s extra precautions in place for changing as address after you’ve pre-registered, so a fraudster probably won’t attempt it after you’ve already pre-registered for your claim form.
What If I Do Nothing?
If you do not file a claim when the forms become available, you won’t receive a settlement check. This rule could work in your favor, though. How many businesses do you think spent the time to read over their mailed notice of this information or researched how to receive their claim? Many did not, which means you could be sharing that $6.24 billion with far fewer business owners. It’s not often that YOU get paid to accept electronic payments at your business, so we hope you take advantage of it.
Where Can I Get More Information?
The Payment Card Settlement website is the official source of information for the settlement case. Also, feel free to reach out to us via email or a quick call with any other questions. Industry updates like these that can save you money are a great reason to subscribe to our blog!