updated 10/12/2011 6:49:47 PM ET 2011-10-12T22:49:47

Independent ATM operators are accusing MasterCard and Visa of fixing prices and forcing them to charge consumers set fees.

A lawsuit that the ATM operators filed Wednesday in federal court in Washington, D.C. claims MasterCard and Visa require them to agree to contracts that prevent them from charging less when consumers use cards that can access networks other than MasterCard's and Visa's.

Independent ATM operators' machines are typically found in drug stores and other stand-alone, non-bank locations.

The ATM operators are seeking class-action status for their lawsuit, which lifts the curtain on the complex, behind-the-scenes dealings in how debit card transactions are processed.

Representatives from MasterCard Inc. and Visa Inc. declined to comment.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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