Mastercard and Visa face billion-pound payouts to retailers after UK court ruling

The UK Supreme Court has ruled payment giants Visa and Mastercard to be in breach of competition laws and may be required to pay billions in compensation to some of Britain’s leading retailers.

The ruling stated that Visa and MasterCard payment card schemes were unlawful restriction of both European Union and UK competition law.

Head of competition litigation at law firm Stewarts, Kate Pollock, told the FT: “The Supreme Court’s definitive finding on liability means that our clients’ claims can now proceed to trial on the issue of the quantum of damages. They look forward to a swift resolution of the matter without further delay.”

This case was originally filed in 1992 by retailers such as Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Asda and Argos against the levy on the retailers when cardholders make a transaction, called default multilateral interchange fees (MIFs).

When it comes to the process between retailers and card issuers, credit card companies and processors all benefit from a per transaction fee and retailers pay different rates depending on how the card is processed.