JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Nov. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Consumers in rural and low-income urban areas with less access to bank-owned ATMs came one step closer to seeing lower ATM fees yesterday, when the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed an appeal filed by VISA, MasterCard, and the big banks to block class action litigation spearheaded by The National ATM Council, Inc. (NAC) over the past five years. NAC, which filed suit in 2011 against the global networks to halt antitrust abuses, applauded this decisive action of the nation's highest court. NAC Executive Director Bruce Wayne Renard said: "NAC is genuinely pleased with the order of summary dismissal issued yesterday by the United States Supreme Court. After five years, it is time the case is heard on the merits. The anticompetitive rules at issue have protected VISA and MasterCard from competition for network services at retail ATMs, with the result that consumers have been paying inflated prices for using ATMs and fewer ATMs were deployed than otherwise would have been the case." NAC Board Chair Bonnie Dalrymple stated: "The thousands of independent ATM providers across America that play a vital role in making convenient access to cash available throughout our nation's urban and rural communities require and deserve the relief sought in this case. Yesterday's Supreme Court's ruling is a real step forward for the interests of U.S. retail ATM entrepreneurs, and the continued widespread access to cash for consumers throughout our nation." The lawsuit, initially filed in 2011 before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by The National ATM Council and several independent operators of automated teller machines alleged that VISA and MasterCard's network rules unlawfully prohibited ATM operators from offering lower prices for transactions over PIN-debit networks that are not affiliated with Visa or MasterCard. The suit alleged that the defendants' network rules amounted to price fixing that artificially raised the price that consumers pay for ATM services, limited the revenue that ATM-operators can earn, and violated the Sherman Act's prohibition against unreasonable restraints of trade.