A lawsuit brought in Britain could not only have serious consequences for British MasterCard holders, but if successful could have massive fallout worldwide.
The case – which is the largest in British history – alleges the payments company charged unlawfully high fees to stores when shoppers used their debit or credit cards, and these fees were passed on to consumers by way of higher prices.
The suit, brought by the former chief financial services ombudsman, contends that this was an invisible tax and Master Card behaved disgracefully in this and was damaging UK consumers.
The lawsuit comes after the European Union’s antitrust regulator found in 2014 MasterCard’s fees to store owners to process international payments within the EU were excessive.
If the Canadian equivalent $25 billion dollar suit is successful and shared equally by the number of eligible claimants, then without having to join the suit or share any of the expense of litigation, each person would automatically receive the Canadian equivalent of about $520 each.
MasterCard said in a statement it denied any wrongdoing and would vigorously defend the suit.
The case is not expected to go to trial until 2018 and could be settled before then, but the shock waves of this case, if successful, could see similar action in many different countries where MasterCard does business.