The Department of Justice announced today that it filed a civil antitrust lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York challenging rules that American Express, MasterCard and Visa have in place that prevent merchants from offering consumers discounts, rewards and information about card costs, ultimately resulting in consumers paying more for their purchases.
Attorney General Holder announces that the Department has filed a civil antitrust suit against American Express, Visa, and MasterCard.
The lawsuit challenges rules the companies have in place that prohibits merchants from offering consumers discounts, rewards or information about card costs. This ultimately results in consumers paying more for their purchases. According to the Attorney General “We want to put more money in consumers’ pockets, and by eliminating credit card companies’ anticompetitive rules, we will accomplish that.”
Photo of the press room during Assistant Attorney General’s Christine Varney comments.
The Department also announced a proposed settlement with Visa and MasterCard, that if approved by the court, will require the two companies to allow merchants to offer discounts, incentives, and information to consumers to encourage the use of less costly payment methods.
Christine Varney, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division at the podium.
Credit card acceptance costs U.S. merchants approximately $35 billion each year. Those costs are collected by a “swipe fee” paid every time a credit card is used. Merchants pass on these billions of dollars in fees to consumers through higher retail prices.