MasterCard, one of the largest credit card payment operators and financial institutions worldwide, is being sued for US$19 billion for overcharging 46 million British customers for 16 years, from 1992 to 2008.

The suit was filed by prestigious multi-billion dollar law firm Quinn Emanuel, which accused the credit card network operator of charging substantially higher interchange fees that affected millions of businesses and individuals for over a decade.

MasterCard’s unlawful profits

UK’s former chief financial services ombudsman, Walter Merricks, disclosed that 46 million British customers were affected by MasterCard’s unlawfully high fees.

Both Merricks and the law firm stated that MasterCard has imposed unreasonably fees on its customers to generate unlawful profits. For that, Merricks states that the US$18 billion fine will only be the first step towards consumer’s compensation.

Quinn Emanuel said in a statement:

“MasterCard lost this battle at every level and showed complete disregard for its cardholders and consumers at large, focusing instead on generating unlawful profits.”

According to Merricks, MasterCard will presumably face more consequences in the near future for its actions.

Merricks added:

“MasterCard charged billions of pounds of unlawfully high fees for its sole benefit and to the detriment of consumers. It has already been found to have broken competition law, the basis of which was to protect consumers, and that cannot be disputed. There is no basis upon which MasterCard can contend that its card fees were not unlawful.”

Bitcoin’s high fees vs. credit cards

After miners and Bitcoin Core developers failed to live up to the agreement established in the Hong Kong Bitcoin Roundtable Consensus on February 21 to increase the Bitcoin block size to two megabytes, an increasing number of users and Bitcoin startups have begun to criticize the Bitcoin network for its high fees.

However, according to the Bitcoinfees platform of 21 Inc, the fastest and cheapest transaction fee is currently 60 satoshis/byte, which results in a fee of US$0.07.

Fees chart

While a major financial institution is being sued for US$18 billion for imposing unlawfully high fees for 16 years on 46 million customers, the Bitcoin network has a consistent US$0.07 transaction fee, which is still substantially lower than the transaction fees of any other payment networks on the market today.

As banks and major financial institutions continue to be exposed for their illegitimate operations and felonious actions, a more convincing case for Bitcoin and mainstream adoption is being established.