If you own a business or store that has been accepting credit card payments at any time between January 1, 2004 and November 28, 2012, may be eligible to receive a payment from the $6.05 billion "Cash Settlement Fund".
There is also a second $1.2 billion "Interchange Fund" for similar businesses that will be collecting credit cards starting in July 29, 2013 (regardless if they've collected in the past)
That's right, there was a recent class action settlement setting aside that much money for merchants that were deemed to be overcharged by Visa, MasterCard a gaggle of super big banks. These are the folks that get together and set what's called "Interchange Fees", the largest portion of what merchants get charged to accept credit cards. The courts decided they were overcharging the merchants.
Is a total $7.2 billion payout a sure thing? Not yet, the final hearing is on September 12, 2013, but since it has already been preliminarily approved there is a very high probability of final approval and disbursement of funds.
How Can you Collect?
After the September 12, 2013 hearing, a claim form will be submitted to the Court for approval and a claim deadline will then be set. You will then need to submit a form to get your money.
How Much Can you Get?
$6 Billion may sound like a lot, but after the apportionment to the super retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, etc. the balance remaining for the mom and pop stores will be small, but hey, it's free money. It'll be a pro rata portion of all the Interchange fees collected during the period. The exact amount will be figured out by the powers that be, mostly the law firms that represented the plaintiffs in this case.
Should you Opt Out?
Opting out of the money is an option. Because this is a negotiated settlement if you file to collect you won't be able to suit the plaintiffs on this matter ever again. Again, unless you're Wal-Mart, it's best to file to participate and get whatever you can out of the program, after all you overpaid for years.