Visa Inc., MasterCard Inc. and banks that issue their credit cards have agreed to a $7.25 billion settlement with U.S. retailers in a lawsuit over the fixing of credit and debit card fees in what could be the largest antitrust settlement in U.S. history.
The settlement, if approved by a judge, would resolve dozens of lawsuits filed by retailers in 2005. The card companies and banks would also allow stores to start charging customers extra for using certain credit cards to steer them toward cheaper forms of payment.
An additional $525 million has been set aside to pay to the stores which sued individually, including grocery chains Kroger and Safeway and the Rite Aid pharmacy chain.
Lawyers representing the credit card companies said Friday’s settlement was in the best interests of all involved.
Visa and Mastercard stock both climbed in after-hours trading following the announcement of the deal.