Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Publix Super Markets Inc. Announces Suit Against VISA and MasterCard

LAKELAND, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 4, 2005 -- Publix Super Markets, Inc. has filed a federal lawsuit against VISA and MasterCard alleging that they are individually, along with their respective member banks, engaging in deceptive practices and restricting competition in violation of antitrust laws.

The suit also claims that the practice of setting credit card fees (called interchange) charged to retail merchants is anti-competitive. When customers use a credit card, the retailer must pay an interchange fee to the issuing cards' bank without an opportunity to negotiate lower rates.

"In a time when more than 60 percent of our customers prefer to pay by debit or credit card, it is astonishing that interchange rates continue to rise," said Director of Media and Community Relations Maria Brous. "In our business, our customers benefit from competition.

As a result of VISA and MasterCard's business practices, there is no competition between banks and ultimately every consumer pays the price when these credit card companies and their member banks impose 'hidden fees' on retailers."

[Additional link: The Ledger]