GLOBAL ECONOMY

Walmart Sues Visa For $5 Billion Over Card Fees, Seeks $15 Billion In Damages

FILE - In this  May 28, 2013, file photo, an outdoors sign for Walmart is seen in Duarte, Calif. After enduring a severe winter that chilled business, Wal-Mart is trying to lure shoppers into its stores with the biggest weapon in its arsenal: a big sale. The world’s largest retailer is offering up to 50 percent on more than 60 outdoor items such as lawn mowers and bags of mulch, starting Friday, March 21, 2014,  and ending the following Saturday.  (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

FILE - In this May 28, 2013, file photo, an outdoors sign for Walmart is seen in Duarte, Calif. After enduring a severe winter that chilled business, Wal-Mart is trying to lure shoppers into its stores with the biggest weapon in its arsenal: a big sale. The world’s largest retailer is offering up to 50 percent on more than 60 outdoor items such as lawn mowers and bags of mulch, starting Friday, March 21, 2014, and ending the following Saturday. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)  (DAMIAN DOVARGANE2013)

Walmart Stores Inc. is suing Visa Inc. over fees that it charges the world's largest retailer when customers use a credit or debit card.

Walmart says Visa's price fixing cost the company at least $5 billion in damages and is seeking three times that amount, $15 billion, in damages.

It also says Visa conspired with banks to illegally fix and inflate fees that retailers pay on card transactions, and that the fees cost U.S. retailers and shoppers more than $350 billion between 2004 and November 2012.

Walmart's complaint was filed Tuesday with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas.

San Francisco-based Visa declined to comment on the suit.

Retailers have long complained about the billions of dollars in "swipe" or "interchange" fees that they have had to pay, which average to about 2 percent of the price of a purchase.

In December, a judge approved a settlement over card fees between 19 merchants and Visa and MasterCard. The settlement was originally valued at $7.25 billion but shrank to about $5.7 billion because some retailers opted out.

Walmart was not part of the group. The Bentonville, Ark.-based chain, along with Macy's, Target and the National Retail Federation trade group, have opposed the settlement, saying it will do nothing to reduce swipe fees or keep them from rising in the future.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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