According to a report from Bloomberg, Visa and MasterCard won preliminary approval on Monday, January 28 for their second attempt at settling antitrust allegations of a class of over 12 million US merchants.
The credit card companies will pay between US$5.56 and US$6.26 billion under the deal. Class counsel believes it is the largest cash settlement in antitrust class action history.
The lawsuit dating back more than a decade, accuses the credit card companies of violating federal antitrust laws by forcing merchants to pay swipe fees and prohibiting them from directing consumers toward other methods of payment.
The suit has been settled before, but the original settlement reached in 2012 was rejected by major merchants as unfair and overturned on appeal. Opponents of the earlier agreement argued it would have limited the retailers’ ability to bring future lawsuits and has done little to end anti-competitive practices. The amended settlement represents a US$900 million increase over the previous one.
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