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Co-Op Group Rejects Interchange Settlement

IOWA CITY, Iowa — National Cooperative Grocers Association here on Friday said it has joined other retail groups in rejecting the recently proposed settlement of a class-action antitrust lawsuit against Visa, MasterCard and their card-issuing banks.

As previously reported, the card issuers offered about $7.25 billion to settle charges that they conspired to fix interchange fees on credit cards. Other retail groups that have rejected the poposed settlement include the National Grocers Association and the National Association of Convenience Stores.

"When NCGA signed onto this action, we did so in the interest of consumer fairness and in support of industry transparency," said Robynn Shrader, chief executive officer of NCGA. "This settlement falls short of providing true reform in the system by continuing to allow credit card issuers and credit card networks to exploit retailers and consumers without risk of repercussion."

Read more: More Oppose Suit Settlement

The proposed settlement would allow for individual retailers to charge fees directly to consumers who wish to use credit cards or debit cards, a scenario NCGA said it rejects. “The practice of surcharging is an inadequate solution to the broader problem of swipe fees,” the association said in a statement.

The settlement also does not limit credit card issuers and credit card networks from hiking related fees in the future, NCGA said, and would protect credit issuers from future lawsuits.

NCGA said it urges other retailers to reject the proposed settlement and push for a revised settlement that “holds credit card issuers accountable, ensures competition in the market and encourages innovation in payment systems.”

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