Visa and MasterCard agree to settle swipe fee class action for $6.2 billion

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Visa and MasterCard, along with some top US banks, have agreed to pay as much as $6.2 billion in a class action settlement with US retailers over swipe fees.

The settlement ends a 13-year old suit brought by the nation’s leading merchants, which claimed that Visa and MasterCard violated antitrust laws by fixing prices to benefit the banks. It’s the largest antitrust settlement ever.

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 done little to end uncompetitive practices.

The amended settlement represents a $900 million increase over the previous one. The new settlement was disclosed in corporate filings by Visa and MasterCard early Tuesday. It must still be approved by the court.

Under the new deal, Visa will pay an additional $600 million, while MasterCard will pay an additional $108 million, according to the companies’ filings.

MasterCard said it was an important step to finally reach an agreement with merchants in this case.

“We can put this behind us and focus on continuing to innovate with our merchant partners to deliver the experience and convenience that consumers expect,” said Tim Murphy, general counsel for Mastercard.

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