WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division submitted a final consent decree Tuesday in its enforcement action against Visa and MasterCard related to certain credit card practices, according to Food Marketing Institute.
“This is just a first step, but a vital one, to help alleviate some of the card network restraints on FMI members’ ability to provide discounts to their customers,” said Leslie G. Sarasin, president and chief executive officer, FMI. “This enforcement action is focused on anti-competitive practices related to credit cards and reinforces the need for credit card transactions to be subject to the same reforms authored by Sen. Durbin related to debit cards."
FMI said it anticipates that this action by the DOJ will “begin to open possibilities for competition in the marketplace.”
Last October, Visa and MasterCard agreed to the proposed settlement of the civil antitrust action against them that would allow merchants to begin steering customers toward lower-cost methods of payment.
In a prepared statement, the Merchants Payments Coalition, which includes retail associations, said, "Merchants across the country applaud the Department of Justice for recognizing Visa and MasterCard’s anti-competitive actions and moving forward with its litigation. The initial consent decree released in October and today's settlement reinforce Congress’ efforts to rein in the anti-competitive fees and provide a useful complement to the pending swipe fee reforms that address debit cards.”