The Payment Card Settlement is the biggest antitrust class-action settlement in history and sets aside at least $5.54 billion and a maximum of approximately $6.24 billion for millions of U.S. merchants who for years paid artificially inflated Visa and Mastercard interchange fees.
Why it matters: If your restaurant accepted Visa and/or Mastercard at any time between January 1, 2004, to January 25, 2019, then you are likely a member of the class settlement and entitled to a share of the settlement.
Go deeper: The settlement ends a 2013 lawsuit in which the National Restaurant Association and the Restaurant Law Center played leading roles. The lawsuit alleged that merchants paid excessive fees to accept Visa and Mastercard, while these two companies violated antitrust laws by price-fixing interchange fees. This same lawsuit also established today’s credit card surcharging rules implemented by Visa and Mastercard.
How to claim your share: You can submit a claim through the official court-authorized Payment Card Interchange Fee Settlement website. Claim forms began mailing on December 1, 2023, and will continue being sent for most of December. Because of the large number of claim forms being sent, you may not receive yours until late December 2023, or January 2024, and they are asking class members to please be patient.
If you received a Claim Form in the mail and want to file a claim online using the Claimant ID provided, you can click the “Submit a Claim” button found in the Payment Card Interchange Fee Settlement website. There is also a unique QR code on your mailer that will bring you to the claims submission page which should populate with your relevant information.
If you do not receive a claim form and are uncertain as to whether you are a merchant that is eligible to file a claim in this settlement, also click the “Submit a Claim” button found in the Payment Card Interchange Fee Settlement website and, after providing your Taxpayer Identification Number along with some additional information, the Class Administrator will attempt to determine whether you qualify. Still, the fastest and easiest way to submit a claim is to wait for the Claim Form to arrive in the mail and use the Claimant ID and Control Number provided to log into the site. It will also be helpful to have your Tax ID# ready.
Third Party Operators: Many restaurant operators have already been approached by third-party companies that offer to file a claim on your behalf and these solicitations will increase, but some of these firms will often create a false sense of urgency or complexity around the filing process and can take as much as 40% off the top of the operator’s award. While you may choose to use such companies, you should know that you can file with the Claims Administrator on your own, free of charge following the instructions above. Additionally, you are entitled to contact the Claims Administrator or Class Counsel for assistance with understanding and filing your claim form—again, at no cost to you.