A U.S. District Judge in Washington D.C has dismissed
antitrust lawsuits accusing several financial behemoths of fixing
automated teller machine (ATM) fees.
Bank of America Corporation
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Wells Fargo & Company
) were accused in the case.
BANK OF AMER CP (BAC): Free Stock Analysis
JPMORGAN CHASE (JPM): Free Stock Analysis
MASTERCARD INC (MA): Free Stock Analysis
VISA INC-A (V): Free Stock Analysis Report
WELLS FARGO-NEW (WFC): Free Stock Analysis
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.
The lawsuit filed in Oct 2011, implicated Visa and Mastercard of
setting rules that prohibited ATM operators from offering lower
prices on sovereign PIN debit card networks not associated with
either of the companies. These independent networks comprise
nearly 0.2 million ATM's across the U.S.
The plaintiffs stated that the suspected unlawful agreements
required operators of ATMs to charge a fixed amount even when
customers use networks that charge less, compared to MasterCard
However, in their own defense, Visa and Mastercard maintained
that this type of arrangement helped customers by setting a cap
on the ATM access fees, whereas the defendants contradicted that
the arrangement created a base under which fees for transactions
processed on other networks could not be discounted.
While dismissing the lawsuit, the judge stated that the
plaintiffs had failed to produce adequate evidence to support
their claims of a conspiracy by the financial institutions to
charge exorbitant ATM fees. Moreover, they failed to prove that
they were directly affected by the over charging of fees.
Plaintiffs involve the National ATM Council, 13 owners and
operators of independent non-bank ATMs that compete with bank
ATMs and many individual ATM operators.
The dismissal of the lawsuit comes as a huge relief for the
accused financial biggies. However, the defendants are left in
the lurch as they continue to struggle in a monopolized
landscape, which restricts them from luring consumers through
discount on transactions executed by less expensive networks.