Sainsbury’s prepares for High Court appeal over Visa fees battle

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Visa

The UK’s second largest supermarket Sainsbury’s is preparing to launch an appeal after losing a High Court battle with Visa over processing fees.

Sainsbury’s was seeking damages from the credit card giant after accusing its fixed “interchange fees” of breaking UK and EU competition laws.

Interchange fees are charged to the retailer every time a customer uses a debit or credit card, and have become a hot button issue between retailers and card firms.

Recently, the European Commission launched an investigation into interchange fees, voicing concerns over the practice of fixing costs and imposing a permanent cap on interchange fees.

Sainsbury’s succeeded in a similar claim against Mastercard last summer, securing a £68 million award.

However, its recent claim against Visa was dismissed by the High Court, stating it “failed in its entirety”.

“This claim concerned the damage Sainsbury’s maintains was caused by Visa’s breach of UK and EU competition laws in its setting of interchange fees,” a Sainsbury’s spokesperson said.

“Sainsbury’s is disappointed by the decision of the High Court in finding that Visa had not infringed competition law.

“Sainsbury’s is now considering its position.”

Visa added: “Visa welcomes this week’s decision by the UK High Court, which confirmed that our interchange fees, the fees paid by UK retailers and their payment providers to accept electronic payments, are lawful.

“We hope the court’s decision will accelerate the collaboration between retailers and Visa and will allow us to address the greatest disruption, and potentially the greatest opportunity, facing the merchant community in Europe today: the digitisation of commerce.”

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