High court will hear appeal over high ATM fees

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court will hear an appeal from Visa and MasterCard seeking to throw out a lawsuit accusing the credit card companies of illegally fixing ATM prices.

The justices on Tuesday agreed to review an appeals court ruling that said the antitrust case against the companies and three major banks could go forward.

A group of consumers and independent ATM operators argue that payment processors illegally co-ordinated with Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. to adopt anticompetitive fees.

A federal judge dismissed the case in 2013, but a federal appeals court revived the claims last year.

The lawsuit claims the companies impose contract terms that prevent independent ATM operators from charging lower fees when consumers use debit cards that access cheaper processing networks.