Visa, Mastercard Settle Merchant Fees Case for $6.2B

By William Vogeler, Esq. on September 20, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Visa, Mastercard settlement is one for the record books.

At $6.2 billion, it's not the biggest bank settlement ever. Bank of America holds that record at $165 billion.

However, the bank card settlement is the largest-ever in an antitrust case. And after generating 65 million pages of documents over 13 years, it was about time.

Swipe Fees

Judge Margo Brodie is considering whether to approve the deal, which would end more than 40 class actions that have been filed since 2005. According to reports, the proposed settlement is the largest of its kind.

The plaintiffs alleged the companies inflated fees that merchants pay when consumers swipe their cards. Retailers pay over $90 billion a year on the fees.

Despite the settlement, Bloomberg reported the dispute is not over. The parties have settled damages, but a separate class of merchants want Visa and Mastercard to change their business practices.

"The monetary settlement doesn't solve the problem," said Stephanie Martz, general counsel for the National Retail Federation trade group. "Ending the practices that lead to these anti-competitive fees is the only way to give merchants and consumers full relief once and for all."

Moving Forward

Kelly Mahon Tullier, general counsel for Visa, said in a regulatory filing they were pleased with the settlement.

"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," she said.

Anti-trust counsel and mediators, who have managed the case for a decade, will have their work cut out for them.

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