Several important new swipe fee developments are upon us. First, class counsel may begin sending out notices of the settlement to the approximately 8 million merchants in the class, perhaps as early as, January 29. These notices are different from the unsolicited notices that you may have received from various “settlement firms” that are not a party to this settlement.
Second, it is expected that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit will rule tomorrow, January 29, on our motion to appeal preliminary approval of the proposed swipe fee settlement that was announced July 13, 2012. This ruling is another in a series of steps that ultimately need to be made before the $7.2B proposed settlement takes effect.
The majority of named plaintiffs in the case—including NACS—have rejected the terms of the agreement and will continue to do so. We will share the latest news and analysis of the ruling with you shortly after it is announced tomorrow. Once we have confirmation that the notices have gone out, we will share your options — and our recommendations — as the process unfolds.
Finally, this past Sunday, January 27, marked the first day that retailers could theoretically surcharge customers for certain credit card transactions. Please note that surcharging is only allowed under very specific conditions. It may be very difficult (or impossible) for retailers that accept American Express, and it is illegal in 10 states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas). NACS provides a Q&A on the conditions under which surcharging is permitted and what it means to members here.