Payment Systems

We know payments. For more than a decade, we have helped acquirers grow their businesses, address compliance challenges, and resolve disputes. That’s why payment processors, ISOs, and payment facilitators across the country trust AGG with their most important legal needs.

Overview

Our Payment Systems team works with payment acquirers—including payment processors, independent sales organizations (“ISOs”), and payment facilitators— as well as card issuers to navigate the legal and regulatory challenges unique to the payments space.

We are proud to be our clients’ trusted advisors on corporate and regulatory matters, including governance, compliance, mergers and acquisitions, vendor and merchant agreements, financial and securities regulation, and card brand rules compliance.

Meanwhile, our litigators represent payment and fintech companies in government investigations and enforcement actions, including by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), Department of Justice (DOJ), state attorneys general, and bankruptcy trustees. We also represent clients in private disputes, including consumer litigation, class action disputes initiated by merchants and cardholders, and litigation relating to data breach liability.

Appreciating that most clients would prefer to avoid litigation, government investigations, and enforcement actions, we strive to identify and manage issues before they become actionable disputes. To that end, we provide compliance advice and assist clients with internal investigations to resolve problems before they escalate. We also assist clients with the implementation of innovative programs that meet the requirements of the patchwork of federal and state regulations and card brand rules under which our clients must operate.

We’re at the forefront of the legal trends that affect the payment and fintech industries and are frequently asked to provide thought leadership by the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) and the Merchant Acquirers Committee (MAC). Our payment lawyers have also been recognized for excellence in their fields by Chambers USA, Georgia Trend’s Legal Elite, the Daily Report, and Super Lawyers.

Experience

    • Advising publicly-traded payment processor and ISO client in SEC reporting and corporate governance matters
    • Advising clients regarding service contracts, sponsorship agreements, and processing agreements with domestic and international partners, financial institutions, and merchants
    • Advising payment processors and ISOs in connection with acquisitions and asset purchase agreements
    • Negotiating software platform agreements to provide consumer-facing payments experiences and to facilitate merchant onboarding and risk underwriting
    • Representing clients in, and advising clients regarding the risks associated with, FTC and CFPB enforcement actions, examinations, and investigations
    • Guiding payment processors, ISOs, and payment facilitators through compliance with civil investigative demands, supervisory reviews, and government subpoenas
    • Successfully representing payment processors and ISOs in disputes with the United States government regulatory agencies, state attorneys general, and bankruptcy trustees
    • Successfully defending claims brought by the FTC against payment processors and ISOs related to the ownership and proper disposition of chargeback reserve funds
    • Advising clients regarding risks associated with foreign government investigations
  • Secured dismissal of multi-million dollar claims against payment processor by referral partner, including claims for breach of contract, conversion, unjust enrichment, negligence, and aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty

    • Successfully defending and prosecuting the rights of payment processors in litigation with current and former merchants, including, e.g., in disputes involving early termination of merchant agreements, unreimbursed chargebacks, alleged fee discrepancies, and misdirection of merchant funds
    • Successfully representing payment processors in class actions initiated by merchants and consumers challenging fees, processing agreement terms, and implementation of card-brand programs
    • Successfully representing payment processors in litigation challenging the validity of card-issuer liability assessment following data breaches
    • Successfully representing card issuers in disputes with cardholders under the FCRA, EFTA, the TCPA, and TILA
  • Assisting clients with the implementation of innovative platforms and practices under patchwork of federal and state regulations and card association rules

    • Providing compliance advice regarding a range of payments issues, including CFPB counseling, NACHA compliance, permissibility of surcharging, and participation in EBT programs
    • Creating comprehensive compliance guidance for Fintech and payments clients addressing state and federal laws, including money transmitter rules and regulations
    • Assisting clients within the payments industry with government relations and regulatory counseling, including FCRA compliance and data breach response
    • Assisting clients with respect to FinCEN requirements and domestic and international AML compliance
    • National representation of payment processors in merchant bankruptcy cases, including prosecution of pre-petition and administrative claims, addressing setoff and recoupment issues, safeguarding pre-petition reserves and working to minimize chargeback exposure, defending alleged automatic stay violations, and defending avoidance actions by bankruptcy trustees
    • National representation of card issuer in the defense of preference and fraudulent transfer claims, under both the Bankruptcy Code and state statutes, brought by bankruptcy trustees, creditors’ committees, and court-appointed receivers

Recognition

  • Members of AGG’s Payment Systems team actively participate in several committees within the ETA, including the Government Relations, Lawyers, and Risk, Fraud & Security and Payment Facilitator Committees.

 

  • Members of AGG’s Payment Systems are also sponsors of, and frequent presenters at, the multiple events hosted by the Merchant Acquirers Committee (“MAC”), which is dedicated to educating payments professionals on cutting edge industry issues.

 

  • Payments team co-chair, Ed Marshall, is the inaugural co-chair of the Payment Systems Subcommittee within the ABA Section of Litigation’s Commercial and Business Litigation Committee.

 

  • Payments team co-chair, Theresa Kananen, was among those selected for the ETA’s inaugural 40 Under 40 as a “game changer at the intersection of payments and technology,” and for her “leadership and actions [that] are driving the payments industry forward.”