Visa and Mastercard have been accused of price fixing in a lawsuit filed Wednesday by the the National ATM Council. The suit alleges that nonbank ATM operators could charge customers lower ATM fees when they use other, cheaper payment networks, but are prevented from this by the set access fees Visa and MasterCard charge.
The ATM owners would like to be able to “put a sign on their cash machines, for instance, saying the fee is $2 for Visa or MasterCard, but $1 for cards using other networks,”reports the NYT. They could then give discount rates for customers who were engaging in less-costly behavior for the ATM owners.
The suit says that “[b]y restricting their ability to attract customers to lower-cost A.T.M. services through lower prices, the A.T.M. restraints put a competitive straitjacket on A.T.M. operators.”
Visa and MasterCard declined NYT’s requests for comment.