Visa Inc., which operates the world's biggest electronic-payments network, was sued by Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s Asda unit, William Morrison Supermarkets Plc and Arcadia Group Plc over payment-processing fees.
The three companies filed separate lawsuits against Visa at a London court on July 23, according to court records. They're suing over the fees Visa charges them to process payments, spokesmen for the companies said.
The European Union proposed caps this week on the transaction fees that banks and payment card providers can demand from retailers at 0.2 percent for debit card payments and 0.3 percent for credit cards. MasterCard Inc. is also being sued by more than a dozen companies over interchange fees in the U.K., including Asda and Morrison, the U.K.'s fourth-largest grocery store chain.
"We have not seen this claim," a spokesman for Visa, Mark Hooper, said in an e-mail. "We are surprised that a case might be brought and, if it was, would strongly contest it."
Tania Foster-Brown, a spokeswoman for Arcadia, Russell Craig, a spokesman for Asda, and James French, a spokesman for Morrison, declined to comment beyond the subject of the lawsuits. Comet Group Ltd., Iceland Foods Group Ltd., and six others also filed lawsuits on the same day against Visa.
The EU's antitrust regulators have been reviewing credit and debit card fees for over a decade, warning that the way the charges are agreed is anti-competitive. The bloc's agency said in 2007 that MasterCard's fees for cross-border card payments violated antitrust rules, unfairly inflating the fees paid by retailers for processing payments.
The case is Asda Stores Ltd. v Visa Inc. & Ors, case no. 13-984, U.K. High Court of Justice, Queen's Bench Division.