• Court Approves DOJ Antitrust Settlement with Visa and MasterCard
  • July 28, 2011 | Authors: Heather J. Howdeshell; Brian M. Murphy; Robert J. Pile; Marc A. Rawls; Adrienne L. Smith; David A. Zimmerman
  • Law Firm: Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP - Atlanta Office
  • A federal judge has approved a settlement between the Department of Justice (DOJ), seventeen states, and payment card networks Visa and MasterCard for alleged antitrust violations pursuant to Section 1 of the Sherman Act. The complaint stemmed from the networks’ long-standing rules (so-called “anti-steering rules”) prohibiting merchants generally from (1) preferring one form of payment over others or (2) offering rebates or discounts to purchasers for using certain forms of payment. The settlement was proposed on October 4, 2010 and was approved last week. Under the DOJ’s theory of the case, restraints on retailers by the payment networks impose a competitive burden on merchants, restricting decisions to offer discounts, benefits and customer choice. Visa and MasterCard will not be required to make any monetary payments as part of the settlement.