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Visa & Mastercard: USD 30 Billion Settlement Over Credit Card Fees 

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Visa and Mastercard have reached an estimated USD 30 billion settlement aimed at limiting credit and debit card fees for merchants. 

Image Source: Forbes
Visa and Mastercard have reached an estimated USD 30 billion settlement aimed at limiting credit and debit card fees for merchants. 
Image Source: Forbes 

Visa and Mastercard have reached a groundbreaking USD 30 billion settlement aimed at curbing credit and debit card fees for merchants, potentially leading to reduced costs for consumers over the next five years, marking one of the largest antitrust settlements in U.S. history. 

While some critics argue that the agreement may not provide sufficient relief for merchants, alleging that fee reductions could be short-lived and fees might persist at high levels, the settlement addresses long-standing grievances from merchants who have accused the card networks of imposing inflated swipe fees and restrictive anti-steering rules. 

Under the terms of the settlement, Visa and Mastercard would lower swipe rates for three years by at least four basis points and maintain an average rate seven basis points below the current average for five years, along with implementing rate caps and removing anti-steering provisions. 

Despite objections from some merchants and analysts, who argue that the settlement falls short in offering significant and lasting relief, Visa and Mastercard maintain that it addresses key concerns raised by small businesses, providing them with a level of certainty. 

However, the settlement faces opposition from certain quarters, with concerns raised about its long-term impact and effectiveness. The agreement requires approval from the U.S. District Judge Margo Brodie and is not expected to be finalized before late 2024 or early 2025, with the possibility of appeals. 

While some industry experts highlight the concessions made by Visa, Mastercard, and banks, including provisions allowing merchants to impose surcharges on certain credit cards, critics argue that the settlement may not go far enough in addressing merchants’ concerns. 

Despite these criticisms, the settlement could lead to significant savings for merchants, potentially resulting in lower prices for consumers due to increased competition among merchants. The agreement also involves Visa and Mastercard agreeing to cover up to USD 170 million in legal fees and expenses for plaintiffs. 

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