MasterCard, Visa settled while Amex fights U.S. lawsuit
Visa and MasterCard reached a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department that will let merchants reward consumers for paying with lower-cost credit or debit cards, while American Express Co. vowed to fight a government antitrust lawsuit.
The settlement means that about 4 million merchants across the U.S. that accept just Visa and MasterCard are now free to steer customers to different credit cards or forms of payment by offering discounts, rebates or other special treatment, the Justice Department said. 6 million more retailers who also accept cards from American Express are still subject to restrictions until the lawsuit is resolved, the Justice Department said.
American Express said the antitrust lawsuit filed against the company is a significant retreat from previous Department of Justice efforts to promote competition in the payments industry. The new approach would ultimately limit consumer choice, reduce competition and curtail innovation.