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Visa, Mastercard reach $900M settlement on card-swipe lawsuit

By Nicholas Sakelaris
Visa, Mastercard reach $900M settlement on card-swipe lawsuit
Visa and Mastercard reached a $900 million settlement in the long-standing class-action suit over credit card-swipe fees. Photo by Joerg Carstensen/EPA

Sept. 18 (UPI) -- After fighting it for more than a decade, Visa and Mastercard settled a class-action lawsuit over card-swipe fees, agreeing with banks to pay $900 million.

The lawsuit filed by merchants said Visa and Mastercard established fees that benefited banks, instead of allowing merchants to negotiate with businesses themselves. The latest settlement will be added to the $5.3 billion already paid to merchants in 2012.

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The settlement will be filed with the court as an amendment to the earlier agreement.

While the monetary claims are settled, the suit remains active because the court hasn't resolved the rule changes plaintiffs seek.

"After years of thought negotiation, we are pleased to be able to reach this agreement and move forward in our partnership with merchants to provide consumers with convenient, reliable, secure ways to pay," Kelly Mahon Tullier, executive vice president, general counsel for Visa, said in a statement.

The total settlement paid out by Visa totals $4.1 billion, including $600 million deposited into escrow earlier this year.

Mastercard also set aside additional funds to pay its share of the latest settlement, totaling $108 million.

"We are taking a significant step toward closing a chapter in a long-standing case," Tim Murphy, general counsel for Mastercard, said in a statement.

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The next step could be merchants dropping the class-action suit altogether. The credit card companies and banks will pay $700 million back to merchants if 15 percent of the plaintiffs drop the suit. If 25 percent of the defendants drop the suit, the suit is terminated.

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