Retailers’ Victory on ‘Swipe Fees’ May Cost Credit Users
Retailers will be able to charge customers more for paying with credit cards under the terms of a multibillion-dollar settlement announced Friday.
MasterCard, Visa and major banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, agreed to pay more than $6 billion to settle accusations they engaged in anti-competitive practices in payment processing.
The settlement, called by lawyers involved in the case the largest antitrust settlement in U.S. history, is the culmination of a lawsuit brought in federal court on behalf of roughly 7 million merchants in 2005. Merchants said the companies engaged in price-fixing to charge high fees for processing credit- and debit-card payments.
In addition, merchants said, payment processors unfairly banned stores from compelling customers to use cheaper methods of payments such as cash and checks.
A judge must approve the accord.