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Retailers said to be weighing lawsuits over chip cards, fraud-liability shift

Matt Hamblen | Oct. 2, 2015
Walmart is well ahead on chip credit cards, but still doesn’t take chip debit cards.

"There's no shortage of animosity and confusion by retailers, although I haven't heard of anything specific with another lawsuit by retailers against Visa and MasterCard," said Avivah Litan, an analyst at Gartner.

Any lawsuits are most likely to come from retailers smaller than the biggest 10 chains. Big hotels, mid-sized merchants and big restaurant chains are the most likely to bring lawsuits, she said.

She agreed with Horwedel and others in retail that the backlog in certifications has been unfair for retailers and was caused by the card companies' delays in setting debit chip-card processing specifications. "That's completely unfair that merchants should be liable for the lag time caused by card providers and I'd imagine the merchants would win damages," she said.

Jordan McKee, an analyst at 451 Research, agreed that lawsuits will come. "The liability shift certainly hasn't helped to ease already uncomfortable tensions between retailers" and banks and card providers, he said. "As has long been the case in this industry, lawsuits are seemingly inevitable."


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