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In a recent court case, a group of merchants objected to the processing rates set by Visa and MasterCard, and issuing banks.
In the lawsuit, it was claimed that merchant services end up paying a lot more fee for processing Visa and MasterCard payments because of an alleged conspiracy. However, in a 55 page long ruling, US District Judge John Gleeson stated that the new settlement will encourage competition and promote the idea of transparency in payments, helping to avoid some misleading tactics used by a few providers.
Who Can File A Claim?
The monetary claim of the settlement was broken down into two parts:
1) The first fund – Any business, person, or any other type of business entity that accepted Visa and MasterCard payments between January 1, 2004 and November 28th, 2012, maybe eligible to receive a payment. Initially, the settlement required the defendants to pay a sum of $7.25 billion. Today, the settlement is valued at $5.7 to $6 billion as a few of the biggest retailers in the United States chose to opt out as accepting the settlement could put barriers to actions in future lawsuits.
2) The second fund – This settlement is based on a portion of interchanging fees incurred by some merchants who accepted Visa or MasterCard payments for an 8 month period starting from July 29th, 2013.
You Can Go For A Settlement Online
You can go online for the settlement by making your claim on the official settlement website. The issue at hand is that the claim forms and the deadlines have still not been determined by the court. However, this will be taken care of in the near future as claim forms will be mailed once approved and a time line is decided for the entire procedure. You can visit the official website to stay updated with the forms and the deadlines.
Third Party Offers To Settle Your Claims
A few merchant account providers have informed their merchants that they will file a claim for the merchant unless otherwise. Merchant account providers will charge a small portion of the settlement as a reasonable fee from the merchant’s settlement portion.
Although it might be a good option to have a merchant account provider fill out the claim, still you need to be on the lookout for merchant account providers who might be more interested in taking the windfall revenue than in providing a service. It is in the best interest of a merchant account holder to establish how difficult the claim would be before allowing any of the providers to process the claim for a fee.
As an initial settlement in November 2012, it was decided that merchant account holders and service providers could surcharge any Visa and MasterCard transactions from January 27 2013; this surcharge was allowed as a checkout fee. This checkout fee could be up to 4% so that merchants can add to the sale to cover the credit card processing costs.
CLAIM FORMS ARE NOT YET AVAILABLE FROM THE CLASS ADMINISTRATOR. WHEN CLAIM FORMS DO BECOME AVAILABLE, CLASS MEMBERS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO SIGN UP WITH ANY THIRD-PARTY SERVICE IN ORDER TO PARTICIPATE IN THE MONETARY RELIEF, BUT MAY INSTEAD FILE THEIR CLAIM DIRECTLY WITH THE CLASS ADMINISTRATOR. THE CLAIM FORM WILL INFORM MOST CLASS MEMBERS OF THEIR ACTUAL OR ESTIMATED INTERCHANGE FEES ON WHICH IT IS PROPOSED THEIR CLAIMS WILL BE PAID. YOU MAY ACCEPT OR DISPUTE THIS ESTIMATE WITH THE OPPORTUNITY TO SUBMIT ADDITIONAL INFORMATION. NO-COST ASSISTANCE WILL BE AVAILABLE FROM THE CLASS ADMINISTRATOR AND CLASS COUNSEL DURING THE CLAIMS-FILING PERIOD. FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, CLASS MEMBERS MAY VISIT www.paymentcardsettlement.com, THE COURT-APPROVED WEBSITE FOR THIS CASE.