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Walmart sues Visa: ‘Visa and the banks forced Wal-Mart to raise retail prices’

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Walmart is suing Visa for $5 billion. Court documents filed in the lawsuit against Visa state that “the anticompetitive conduct of Visa and the banks forced Wal-Mart to raise retail prices paid by its customers and/or reduce retail services provided to its customers as a means of offsetting some of the artificially inflated interchange fees," reported Reuters on March 27.

As a result of being forced to raise the retail prices for its customers, Walmart claims that its retail sales “were below what they would have been otherwise."

Every time a customer uses a credit or debit card in a store, retailers are charged a fee that is controlled by Visa and other card networks.

In the lawsuit filed against Visa, Walmart claims that the credit card company conspired with banks to fix prices on the processing fees that retailers are being charged when customers use their credit or debit cards. Walmart claims that those “swipe fees” generated more than $350 billion during the past nine years for the card issuers.

Last December, a federal judge in Brooklyn, N.Y., approved a $5.7 billion class action settlement between some retail stores and Visa and MasterCard. While many smaller merchants joined the class action settlement, Walmart, Amazon.com Inc, and Target Corp opted out of the settlement because they wanted to have the option to seek damages on their own. Joining a class action settlement generally prevents someone from being able to file additional lawsuits. Unlike small merchants who were content to get something out of the settlement, the giant retailers considered the $5.7 billion settlement to be inadequate.

Walmart’s lawsuit against Visa for $5 billion was filed on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, where Walmart is headquartered.

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