A U.S. federal judge has approved a $7.25 billion settlement between merchants and Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. over credit card transaction fees. A group of merchants and trade groups sued the companies in 2005, alleging they conspired to fix fees charged to stores for handling credit card payments. A settlement was reached in last year but some retailers rejected it - objecting to a provision that barred future lawsuits.
The $7.25 billion settlement figure does not reflect the companies that opted out. MasterCard of Purchase, N.Y., says the final approval marks an important milestone in putting the litigation behind it. San Francisco-based Visa says the settlement is fair for all parties involved. A number of retailers and industry groups say it won't stop so-called swipe fees from increasing.