The Department of Justice recently announced that it filed a civil antitrust lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. It challenges rules that credit card companies such as American Express, MasterCard and Visa have instituted that prevent merchants from offering consumer discounts, rewards and information about card costs. The rules ultimately result in consumers paying for more of their purchases. and increase merchants’ costs of doing business.
Simultaneously, the Department of Justice announced that it has reached a proposed settlement with Visa and MasterCard that if approved, would require the two credit card companies to permit merchants to offer discounts, incentives and information to consumers to encourage less costly payment methods.
The proposed settlement, along with the department’s competitive impact statement, will be published in The Federal Register, as required by the Antitrust Procedures and Penalties Act.