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ATM ISOs file lawsuit against Visa over surcharge restrictions

The National ATM Council, along with 13 ATM ISOs, has proposed a class-action lawsuit against Visa for violating the Sherman Antitrust Act.

According to the plaintiffs, network rules illegally prohibit the card issuer from imposing lower surcharges for ATM transactions that go over the rails of unaffiliated electronic funds transfer networks, DigitalTransactions.net reports. The anti-discrimination rules mandate uniform surcharge pricing.

The suit, representing approximately 350 ATM ISOs, in addition to an unspecified number of their affiliates, seeks class status.

Banks that formerly owned Visa and issued debit cards are also being named as “non-party co-conspirators,” according to DigitalTransactions.net.

The majority of U.S. debit cards carry the Visa logo on the front with at least one EFT network on the back.

Cards that carry unaffiliated EFT networks may have lower transaction pricing than the Visa network, but Visa’s rules forbid ATM ISOs from reflecting those differences in their surcharges, DigitalTransactions.net reports.

“We’re talking about independent businesses,” Jonathan Rubin of Rubin PLC, said, according to DigitalTransactions.net. “These businesses aren’t owned by banks and aren’t owned by the networks. They can’t price the way they want to price. That’s the essence of the complaint.”

The suit seeks injunctions that would ban the non-discrimination rules. It also wants Visa to pay for programs that will notify ATM operators and cardholders regarding their rights regarding ATM transaction routing. Additionally, the suit seeks unspecified damages.

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