DOJ Probes Visa’s Relationships With Fintech: WSJ

The US Justice Department is probing Visa’s relationships with large fintech companies as part of its antitrust investigation of the card giant, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

Antitrust investigators are looking into the financial incentives that Visa gave Square, Stripe Inc and Paypal Holdings, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter.

The company said earlier in March the Justice Department was looking at its debit practices after reports that the United States was investigating whether Visa uses anti-competitive practices in the debit-card market.

To send transactions over Visa’s rails, fintech firms pay fees that Visa sets. Some fintech companies enable payments that bypass Visa and other major card networks. For example, some allow payments to travel from one bank account to another, without using card rails. Visa has at times offered to lower fees or give other rewards in exchange for fintech firms sending more transactions over Visa rails rather than other networks or technologies.

Pricing arrangements of interest to the DOJ include one where Visa offered financial incentives to PayPal, according to the report.

The Justice Department had previously investigated the credit card payments industry but settled with Visa and Mastercard in 2010 when they agreed to allow merchants to offer consumers incentives to use a low-cost credit card.

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