A legal bid to secure compensation for up to 46 million people has been blocked by a judicial body.
A former financial ombudsman was seeking more than £14bn in a class action lawsuit against Mastercard claiming that its interchange fees – charges imposed on debit and credit card transactions – were anti-competitive.
Walter Merricks argued that the fees broke EU law in that they effectively resulted in consumers paying higher pricesto businesses that accepted Mastercard between 1992 and 2008.
But the Competition Appeal Tribunal decided there was no way the case could go to trial as such a collective action could not guarantee any compensation would reach an individual, even if an illegal loss could be established.
Mastercard always insisted the claim had no legal basis.
It said in a statement: “We welcome the Competition Appeal Tribunal’s judgment refusing certification for the proposed collective action.
“As set out in Mastercard’s arguments to date, we believe that the claims were completely unsuitable to be brought under the collective actions regime. The tribunal sided with this position.
“We firmly believe that consumers derive real value from our network through the benefits of security, convenience and consumer protection, and we remain committed to investing in our services in order to continue to meet the rapidly evolving needs of all our customers.”