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Credit Card Companies And Banks Agree To 'Largest Antitrust Settlement In History' Over Merchant Fees

I have to admit, it is nice to read that people who want to charge you a late fee because your payment arrived after noon are taking it in the teeth. But of course, it will be people like us who end up paying for it, anyway: Visa, MasterCard and

I have to admit, it is nice to read that people who want to charge you a late fee because your payment arrived after noon are taking it in the teeth. But of course, it will be people like us who end up paying for it, anyway:

Visa, MasterCard and major banks have agreed to pay at least $6 billion to millions of merchants to end a dispute over card fees.

Lawyers involved in the case called it the largest antitrust settlement in history.

The dispute dates to 2005. The retailers claimed Visa, MasterCard and the banks conspired to fix the fees that stores pay to accept credit and debit cards. The fees average about 2 percent of the price of a purchase.

Visa and MasterCard do not lend to the people who use the cards that bear their logos. They make money on these fees, called "interchange" in the industry. They are set by card processing networks but collected by, and split with, the banks that issue the cards.

Most major U.S. banks were defendants. The merchants include grocery chains Kroger and Safeway, Rite Aid, QVC, the National Association of Convenience stores, and a long list of other trade groups and small merchants.

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