Following some news that came out in April 2022 surrounding card fees from Visa and Mastercard that were contested, travel and hospitality organisations such as UKinbound and Advantage are stepping forward to support joint legal action against both Visa and Mastercard. The date of the upcoming trial was released last week to be held in 2023.  

The lawsuit in question concerns changes that affect card payments by both tourists in the UK and corporate cardholders in the travel and hospitality industries. The trial will be seeing compensation for the UK businesses that were charged large Multilateral Interchange Fees (MIFs) for accepting payments that used corporate credit cards. This is alongside compensation for the same charges when accepting payments from credit and debit cards used by overseas travellers to the UK. 

The Multilateral Interchange Fees (MIFs) in question from Visa and Mastercard are a percentage of the charge vendors are required to pay. On this subject, a spokesperson from the law firm Harcus Parker who is leading this case, said, “The average vendor would not necessarily know what percentage they have to pay. Our case is that there should not be any MIFs.” 

Not only is it being contested that the vendor in question should not be paying these charges at all, but Visa and Mastercard have also been considered to be charging far above the average for these types of charges. Since 2015, the EU capped MIFs at 0.3% for consumer credit card transactions and just 0.2% for consumer debit cards. This cap wasn’t applied to corporate cards or inter-regional consumer cards leading to these fees coming in around 1.8%, more than twice the cap on consumer cards. 

A date has been set by The Competition Appeal Tribunal for a Collective Proceedings Order hearing, this will take place in April 2023 and will decide if the claims made against Visa and Mastercard on the behalf of a large number of businesses can be taken to a full trial.  

According to Harcus Parker, Visa and Mastercard have forced banks to concede to a level of MIFs that are ‘anti-competitive and unlawful’. Jeremy Robinson, the competition litigation partner for Harcus Parker, said, “We want to ensure businesses across the UK economy are properly compensated. We are making a stand against unlawful interchange fees, which should be abolished.  

“Both the UK Supreme Court and the Court of Justice of the EU have condemned this practice for consumer credit and debit cards. The UK courts should now clamp down on commercial card fees and consumer card inter-regional fees.” 

Harcus Parer claimed that MIFs come to the larger part of service charges levied by banks on businesses when a customer pays with a card. “Typically, for every £100 spent, up to £1.80 is charged on payments made by corporate cards, or cards used by overseas visitors – costs which are borne by companies throughout the UK,” they added. 

So, if you’d like to learn more about how your consumers’ monies are protected with Protected Trust Services (PTS) and how we support excellent travel businesses, check out our pages. Or you can get in touch with the lovely PTS team by calling 0207 190 9988 or emailing us at ask@protectedtrustservices.com. 

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