Retail group says swipe-fee settlement too weak

NEW YORK (AP) - The National Retail Federation is appealing a multi-billion-dollar settlement over credit card swipe fees, saying the deal won't stop fees from soaring in the future.

Last month, a federal judge approved the settlement between retailers and card giants Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. Retailers had accused the card companies of conspiring to fix transaction fees charged to stores for handling credit card payments.

The settlement was originally valued at $7.25 billion but shrank to about $5.7 billion because some retailers opted out, according to a lawyer for the plaintiffs.

On Thursday, the retail federation filed an appeal with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, asking it to overturn a lower court's approval of the settlement.

The group said that the settlement was flawed and wouldn't stop fees from rising.

"Instead of lowering fees, the card industry's settlement proposes that merchants pass them along to consumers in the form of surcharges," the retail group's general counsel, Mallory Duncan, said in a statement. "That is absolutely the opposite of what retailers sought, and major retailers have soundly rejected surcharging."

The federation said nearly 8,000 retailers and merchants rejected the settlement, which was approved by nine individual retailers. Among the opponents were large chains including Target Corp. and Macy's Inc.

Representatives of Visa and MasterCard did not immediately respond to phone and email messages for comment.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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