| October 4, 2010

Visa, MasterCard nearing antitrust probe settlement

New legislation has put restrictions on credit card issuers across the country. Finding other means of profit may get a little harder for companies in the near future. Visa and MasterCard are getting closer to settling an antitrust probe with the Justice Department, which may give vendors the opportunity to offer consumers different types of plastic.

Experts say the settlement will not substantially drive revenue down for Visa or MasterCard, but the antitrust probe would be beneficial to vendors who have complained of merchant fees in the past. Currently, retailers must pay merchant fees to credit card companies every time a consumer chooses to use credit. The settlement will address setting lower processing fees and standards to be used across the board.

The Justice Department has chosen not to comment on the recent developments. In the past, the agency has said it was “investigating whether certain credit-card network rules regarding merchants’ treatment of various payment forms, including credit cards, are anticompetitive,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Regulations stemming from the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act that went into effect in August have given consumers more protection and clarity into credit card terms and conditions.

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