Visa and Mastercard agree to settlement of lawsuit over ATM fees

ATM users might soon enjoy lower ATM fees, thanks to a court settlement with Visa and Mastercard - Photo by UnSplash +

Plaintiffs claimed the payment giants controlled fees charged by ATM networks

The two heavyweights of the payments industry, Visa and Mastercard, have agreed to settle a lawsuit brought but ATM users who accused the defendants of anti-competitive behavior by controlling fees charged by ATM networks.

According to court papers, Visa and Mastercard have agreed to pay a combined $197 million to settle the case.  Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America previously agreed to a $66 million settlement.

The two credit card companies agreed to the settlement after they were unsuccessful in persuading the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case. Both denied any wrongdoing. The settlement is subject to court approval.

It’s not immediately clear what impact the settlement would have. The plaintiffs' attorneys said the settlement will "deliver immediate and assured relief," suggesting ATM fees might be rolled back, or future increases might be limited.

As for compensation, there might not be much, since there are 175 million members of the class. After the lawyers are paid, $197 million may not go that far.

For consumers, there are ways to avoid having to pay an ATM fee. Using your bank’s ATM rarely carries a fee but out-of-network ATMs almost always do. According to industry data, those fees have risen 1.5% in the last 12 months.

Some convenience store chains, such as Sheets and Wawa, have ATMs that do not charge a fee. 

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