Credit card companies and the banks that issue the cards have agreed to pay merchants nearly $7.25 billion to resolve dozens of lawsuits filed by retailers in 2005. The settlement includes at least $6.05 billion in payments to some 7 million merchants for past damages and an eight-month reduction in fees valued at $1.2 billion.
The pact is potentially the largest antitrust settlement in U.S. history.
Additionally, Visa and Mastercard will reduce “swipe fees” – fees paid by merchants to issuers when cards are used – while they implement new rules for such transactions. The changes will likely go into effect in 2013.
If approved, this settlement will represent the largest ever recovery in an antitrust case and will be the second largest class action settlement ever.