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Lowe’s joins retailer groups in opposition of swipe fee settlement

Lowe’s joined the Retail Industry Leaders Association and other retail organizations on Friday in criticizing the proposed swipe fee settlement between card processors and retailers, urging plaintiffs in the suit to reject the proposed settlement.

The settlement, announced in July, stems from lawsuits alleging that Visa, MasterCard and banks colluded to fix interchange rates. As part of the settlement, Visa, MasterCard and banks are required to pay $6.6 billion in damages to plaintiffs in the lawsuits, according to Digital Transactions.

The card processors also agreed to lower interchange rates for eight months and to allow retailers to charge a “checkout fee” to consumers who pay with plastic. In return, both Visa and MasterCard will be shielded from future laws regarding interchange fees.

“Hidden credit card and debit card interchange fees cost retailers billions of dollars a year that ultimately get passed along to consumers,” Scott Mason, the vice president of government affairs at Lowe’s, said, EON reports. “The proposed settlement preserves the Visa/MasterCard duopoly and does nothing to prohibit the credit card networks from continually increasing hidden swipe fees, potentially restricts new payment innovations that could bring competition to the marketplace, and, provides no transparency to the retailer or the customer of what the credit card networks charge.”

Other organizations, including the National Cooperative Grocers Association, the National Community Pharmacists Association, the National Association of Convenience Stores and the National Grocers Association, have also spoken out against the settlement.