Visa and Mastercard are reportedly close to settling an antitrust lawsuit over the fees they pay when they accept card payments.

According to people familiar to the matter, speaking to the Wall Street Journal, the settlement would mean that Visa, Mastercard and banks like JP Morgan, Citigroup and Bank of America, would have to pay merchants around $6.5 billion.

The parties on Tuesday informed the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York that they reached a settlement, with a draft of the deal ready by mid-July.

Merchants in the US had alleged card networks were setting fees and card acceptance rules that benefit the banks, under a system in which the issuers set the fees for the banks and then charge the merchants. Instead, the merchants wanted to negotiate fees directly with the banks.

The suit was brought against Visa, Mastercard and the banks in 2005. A number opted out of the suit in 2012 due to terms that would have stopped them from filing lawsuits to do with future swipe-fee increases.

A number of large merchants, including Amazon and Home Depot, are pursuing their own suits. Merchants paid card issuers $43.4 billion in Visa and Mastercard credit card interchange fees in 2017, up from $25.9 billion in 2012.

by Alex Hamilton
Alex is Senior Reporter at IBS Intelligence, follow him on Twitter or contact him at: