US: Visa, Mastercard reach US$6.2bn settlement over card-swipe fees

On Tuesday, September 18, Visa, Mastercard, and a number of US banks agreed to pay US$6.2 billion to settle a long-running antitrust suit brought by merchants over the fees they pay when they accept card payments, reported Reuters.

Visa and Mastercard previously reached a US$7.25 billion settlement with the merchants in the case, but that deal was thrown out by a federal appeals court in 2016 and the US Supreme Court last year refused to revive it.

“After years of thoughtful negotiation, we are pleased to be able to reach this agreement and move forward in our partnership with merchants to provide consumers convenient, reliable, secure ways to pay,” Kelly Mahon Tullier, Visa’s general counsel, said in a statement.

As part of the payment, Visa and Mastercard will use shares owned by banks including JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America. The lawsuit is one of many flashpoints in the battle between retailers and financial firms over the US$90 billion that US merchants spend every year on swipe fees, reported Bloomberg..

Some Outstanding Issues Remain

If finalized, the US$6.2 billion settlement would largely put to rest a case that traces its genesis to 2005 and had been brought by 12 million retailers.

It should be noted, though, that the all-cash agreement — the largest antitrust settlement on the books — had, in fact, been US$5.7 billion, because about 8,000 merchants had opted out of the agreement. Among those merchants that opted out were marquee names su


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