Breaking News

Visa and Mastercard

Visa and Mastercard Reach Landmark $30 Billion Settlement to Curb Credit and Debit Card Fees

New York, March 27, 2024, The Europe Today: Visa and Mastercard have reached a monumental $30 billion settlement, potentially leading to lower prices for consumers and a significant shift in the landscape of payment processing.

The antitrust settlement, announced on Tuesday, marks one of the largest in the history of the United States. Pending court approval, it is poised to address the longstanding grievances of merchants concerning exorbitant swipe fees, commonly known as interchange fees, and alleged restrictive practices enforced by the card networks.

Since the commencement of nationwide litigation in 2005, merchants have accused Visa and Mastercard of imposing inflated swipe fees on transactions made using their cards. Additionally, merchants allege that anti-steering rules prohibited them from guiding customers towards more cost-effective payment methods.

According to, swipe fees typically encompass small fixed fees alongside a percentage of the total sale amount, averaging between 1.5% to 3.5% per transaction.

Under the terms of the settlement, Visa and Mastercard have agreed to implement substantial changes in their fee structures and practices. Notably, both entities will reduce swipe rates by a minimum of four basis points (0.04 percentage points) for a period of three years, subsequently ensuring an average rate seven basis points lower than the current average for an additional five years.

Furthermore, the settlement mandates a cap on rates for a five-year duration and the elimination of anti-steering provisions, granting merchants greater flexibility in offering discounts or imposing surcharges on transactions made with cards bearing higher interchange fees.

The estimated value of the fee adjustments and caps outlined in the settlement surpasses $29.79 billion, as disclosed in court documents. Visa has indicated that small businesses constitute over 90% of the participating merchants.

While Visa and Mastercard have denied any wrongdoing, both entities have expressed their commitment to the settlement. Visa’s North American president, Kim Lawrence, asserted that the agreement addresses significant concerns raised by small businesses, highlighting it as a pivotal step forward. Mastercard’s General Counsel, Rob Baird, echoed similar sentiments, emphasizing the assurance and clarity the settlement provides to businesses.

Despite this landmark agreement, some critics remain skeptical, suggesting that the proposed savings might be short-lived, with concerns lingering over the persistence of high fees in the long term.

Nevertheless, the Visa and Mastercard settlement heralds a notable milestone in the ongoing battle to reform credit and debit card fee structures, potentially heralding a new era of fairer practices in the realm of payment processing.