The National ATM Council and assorted independent ATM operators have filed an antitrust suit against the two dominant card brands, Visa and MasterCard.
The suit alleges that Visa and MasterCard have unlawfully restrained trade by setting ATM fees that must be the same across any and all ATM networks.
The deployers argued this was partly a holdover from the days when the two brands were associations of financial institutions and when there were few, if any, ATM deployers which were not financial institutions.
Preventing independent ATM deployers from setting network fees both prevents them from maximizing profit in some circumstances and from offering less expensive ATM services in other circumstances.
“In a reasonably competitive market, ATM operators would set access fees at a level reflecting the cost of obtaining the network services and other inputs necessary to complete the transaction,” the deployers wrote in their complaint.
“ATM operators would set access fees lower for transactions routed through lower cost ATM networks relative to access fees for transactions routed through higher-cost networks,” the suit said.
“However, the ATM restraints fix and maintain access fees at the same level irrespective of which network complete the transaction or what those services actually cost,” the deployers added in their complaint.
The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., and no judge has been assigned.