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Beyond the Transaction: Every Transaction Has a Story

UK Collective Action – Mastercard’s View

By Ann Cairns, Executive Vice Chair, Mastercard

You may have seen some headlines about a speculative collective claim against Mastercard, so here’s why we think it shouldn’t be allowed to proceed.

People have always derived real value from Mastercard, by being able to spend their money safely, wherever and whenever they want. Today, people in the UK have more choice and control of how they wish to pay than ever before – whether in-store, online or anywhere around the world. At Mastercard we’re constantly investing in and deploying the most advanced technology that keeps payments safe and secure, while making the experience as convenient as possible.

Over the last 30 years the way we live our lives has changed beyond all recognition. The creation of the internet and digital innovation has dramatically altered how we work, spend our free time and buy the things we want.

Indeed, as we navigate the challenging circumstances driven by the COVID19 pandemic, the importance of a reliable, safe and widely accepted means of payment to ensure that people can continue to buy groceries, prescriptions and other essential items whilst remaining socially distant has never been greater. Mastercard’s infrastructure is allowing people to pay how they want, whether that is from the comfort of their own homes or using their contactless card more frequently following the transaction limit increase, giving them further peace of mind and access to the things they need in these unprecedented times.

However, innovation which makes our lives more convenient, cheaper or faster, is meaningless unless whenever a payment is involved it’s secure and reliable. The trust we have built over time is largely a result of us ensuring our systems are safe and dependable.

We also know that people want peace of mind of being protected should something go wrong with a purchase, and by using our cards people in the UK have the means to get their money back should they not receive what they paid for. Other cardholders see great value in rewards and loyalty programmes. Mastercard delivers on all these benefits and by doing so offers people real choice in how to pay.

As you would expect, there are underlying costs to making any payment – including cash – but in the UK today people pay the same price for their shopping however they chose to pay. In our system, costs are shared by the business accepting a payment, banks and Mastercard, as all of us benefit from a purchase, so it’s right that all of us contribute toward to the cost of the payment system. We have always said these costs are the cost of doing business.

So why are you hearing about claims for money and collective actions against us? This relates to a claim brought in the UK on behalf of people in the UK by a US-based lawyers and litigation funders primarily focused on making money for themselves, wasting both the court’s time and taxpayers’ money and is misleading to the general public.

Collective or ‘Class’ actions are new for the UK, but in the United States, class action lawyers have attempted to bring almost identical claims against us, and all of those cases were thrown out by the courts, often long before any trial. And this is where we are in the UK, this claim doesn’t have permission to proceed, it is fundamentally misconceived, and we will continue to oppose it.

No matter the outcome, Mastercard will continue to offer people the ongoing benefits of security, choice and convenience from our payment technology, both here in the UK, and across the world.