Dividends and Visa, Mastercard face new set of legal challenges

In every company, they try their best to provide goods and services and the over whelming majority try to do it within the law or what is legal. We depend on people making decisions which abiding by the law is the better way to do business. Understanding the margins are much higher in the illegal ways, but then life expectancy is much lower.

In an article by Ephrat Livni and Laren Hirsch of the New York Times News Service, credit card companies including VISA and Mastercard dominate the credit card industry, in 2004 they held 75% of all debit purchase volume and in 2021 it rose to over 80%.

At one time the owners of the credit cards were the banks which issued the cards, since 2006 and 2008 when VISA and Mastercard went public the ownership structure changed.

For VISA and Mastercard, the legal department is large and there are many lawsuits filed against them every year. One such lawsuit against VISA is they are the credit card for MindGeek’s website Pornhub. Watch porn on line and pay with VISA. Pornhub has underaged females on their site and one of them has filed a lawsuit against VISA. A US federal judge refused VISA’s request to be dismissed from a case it conspired with MindGeek to profit from images of child sexual abuse.

The judge said, if VISA was aware that there was a substantial amount of child porn on MindGeek’s site, then it was aware that in processing the monetization of child porn, moving money from advertisers to MindGeek for advertisers playing along side child porn similar to the plantiff’s videos.

VISA said we provide a service and we would have to police billions of transactions, we co-operative with law enforcement but the onus should not be us.

In another case, Walt Disney filed an antitrust lawsuit against VISA and Mastercard saying the fees are too high or they are being overcharged on the merchants’ fee. Nobody knows if fees were lower, would prices be lower? but Disney (and many others) believe fees are too high.

Linking to dividend paying stocks, credit card companies have high margins (above 40%) and have long paid dividends to shareholders. All companies want to do what is legal, but how does any company ensure that everyone uses their products and services to be legal. People do all sorts of things, where does corporate responsibility stop?

There are more questions than answers, till the next time – to raising questions.

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