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​Wal-Mart sues Visa for $5bn over 'excessive' card fees

Published time: March 28, 2014 10:28
AFP Photo / Robyn Beck

AFP Photo / Robyn Beck

The world’s biggest retailer Wal-Mart is suing Visa for $5 billion for excessively high card swipe fees between 2004 and 2012.

According to Wal-Mart, the fixed interbank commission violated antitrust law, and in the 9 years the card issuers made more than $350 billion, partly at the expense of retailers and customers.

"The anticompetitive conduct of Visa and the banks forced Wal-Mart to raise retail prices paid by its customers and/or reduce retail services provided to its customers as a means of offsetting some of the artificially inflated interchange fees," as Reuters cites the Wal-Mart court documents.

"As a result, Wal-Mart's retail sales were below what they would have been otherwise."

Wal-Mart refused to answer whether the claim against MasterCard will be also submitted, having emphasized that the company doesn't discuss its legal plans publicly.

Visa refused to comment.

Wal-Mart's complaint against Visa states its customers had to overpay on average 2 percent of the purchase price.

In December 2013 in a judicial settlement between VISA and 19 retailers an agreement was reached for the payment system to pay $7.25 billion compensation. However Visa only paid $5.7 billion after some complainants withdrew their claims.

In a separate move, Russia is going to create its own card system to rival Visa and MasterCard that currently control above 85 percent of all card transactions in the country. On Thursday President Putin said Russia should have its own national payment system, with Sberbank promising to launch its PRO 100 payment system within months. Talks to speed up the development of Russia’s national payment system started after Visa and MasterCard temporarily blocked operations with some Russian banks last week.