Different entities within the credit card processing industry undoubtedly have varying opinions when it comes to the role that fees should play in customer interactions. An ongoing lawsuit seems to be finally heading towards a possibly record-making settlement of more than $7 billion. However, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) has announced that it will not be taking part in the settlement, and in fact opposes it. As the deal involves per-swipe interchange fees charged by major card companies and could affect millions of brick-and-mortar businesses, it's important for companies to pay attention to this development.
The settlement specifically stands to address unfair fee hikes by MasterCard and Visa, and would allow for surcharges once again while lowering rates. As Marketwatch reports, RILA is not pleased with the standards of this decision and will not be one of those entities reimbursed. The organization's Executive Vice President Deborah White explained the reasoning behind their disapproval of the current terms.
"The proposed settlement undermines merchants' legal rights forever and fails to restrain the continued growth of swipe fees increases," she recently said in a statement.
Even though they object (and have approximately another month and a half left to officially do so), RILA and other similarly-minded groups will still have to abide by whatever regulation changes result from the final decision, which is currently scheduled for September. It may be a tough call for many involved to make, especially should the decision have the kind of the far-reaching and lasting repercussions it seems like it will.
It can be difficult to discuss cases like this without falling into politically mandated camps. It's vital for all those who have a stake in this resolution to consider the possible consequences of their options as clearly as they can. Payment card processors can present difficulties in reaching an equivocal stance that benefits both sides, and there will almost always be disagreements. This, of course, only further emphasizes the need for merchants to stay alert.