DC Circuit reinstates antitrust case against Visa and Mastercard

The court explained:

The crux of the Plaintiffs’ complaints is that when someone uses a non-bank ATM, the cardholder pays a greater fee and the ATM operator earns a lower return on each transaction because of certain Visa and MasterCard network rules. These rules prohibit differential pricing based on the cost of the network that links the ATM to the cardholder’s bank. In other words, the Plaintiffs allege anticompetitive harm because Visa and MasterCard prevent an independent operator from charging less, and potentially earning more, when an ATM transaction is processed through a network unaffiliated with Visa and MasterCard.

The district court had dismissed the case for lack of standing and on the merits, but the D.C. Circuit reversed, explaining among other things that the district court erred in rejecting the plaintiffs' theory of economic injury as speculative. It is permissible, the court of appeals explained, to rely on economic theories of how anticompetitive behavior will harm consumers if these allegations are (as here) provable at trial.

Read the decision, issued earlier this month, here.

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