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Appeals court overturns merchant challenge to Fed interchange rule

U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Judges David Tatel, Harry Edwards, and Stephen Williams ruled Friday to overturn a lower court that supported merchants' arguments in the ongoing debit interchange fee cap case known as NACS, et al. v. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

In this case, a merchants' coalition has challenged the Fed's implementation of a Dodd-Frank Act-imposed debit interchange cap as too high. The Credit Union National Association and its partner members of The Clearing House coalition maintain that the cap, in fact, is too restrictive.

"The district court granted summary judgment to the merchants, concluding that the rules violate the statute's plain language. We disagree," the circuit  court judges penned in their opinion that was just released. "Applying traditional tools of statutory interpretation, we hold that the (Federal Reserve) Board's rules generally rest on reasonable constructions of the statute, though we remand one minor issue—the Board's treatment of so-called transactions-monitoring costs—to the Board for further explanation."

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