An antitrust case about the interrelated fees charged for the use of a debit network led to a detailed analysis of antitrust injury; in particular, the Court held as to one of the plaintiff’s claims:

Under Pulse’s theory, it doesn’t lose customers to Visa in a fair fight over per transaction fees. Rather, Pulse loses customers because Visa abuses its dominance in the debit card market. Merchants have no choice but to pay Visa’s high fixed monthly fee. They recoup that expense by routing more transactions through Visa’s network, which charges lower per-transaction fees than competitors. But Visa can achieve that only by leveraging the upfront fees to artificially deflate its per-transaction fees. We must assume this pricing structure violates the antitrust laws. When we do, the link between Pulse’s injury and Visa’s alleged anticompetitive conduct becomes plain. Pulse is squeezed out of the market because Visa exploits its dominance to impose supracompetitive prices on merchants and simultaneously undercut competitors’ per-transaction fees. That is textbook antitrust injury.

Pulse Network v. Visa, No. 18-20669 (April 5, 2022) (citation omitted, emphasis added). (The case has also drawn attention for its other holding that reassigned the matter to a different district judge on remand).

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