Those who oppose the largest antitrust settlement in history are going to have to get their objections out quicker than expected, now that a federal judge has put the deal on an expedited schedule.

The settlement in question is a $7.25 billion agreement between merchants and credit card companies Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. to resolve allegations that the companies fixed credit and debit card fees. Interchange fees, or “swipe fees,” as they are known, are costs charged to retailers whenever a customer uses a card to pay for something.

Several prominent retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and the National Retail Federation, have already voiced their opposition to the settlement, largely because it provides only a temporary reduction in swipe fees and allows the companies to raise them again in the future.

A magistrate judge originally led parties to believe that they would have until mid-November to file written objections to the settlement, but now U.S. District Judge John Gleeson has moved the deadline up to Oct. 31, and scheduled a hearing for Nov. 9.

On Wednesday, Gleeson said that the settlement “at first blush… appears to satisfy the threshold requirements for preliminary approval,” but noted that objections “deserve, and will get, careful consideration by the court.”

Read more at Thomson Reuters and Credit Union Times.


For more InsideCounsel coverage of the swipe fee suit and settlement, see below:

Visa/MasterCard credit card fee settlement with retailers moves forward

Wal-Mart disapproves of $7.25 billion credit card fee settlement

Visa, MasterCard and banks agree to $7.25 billion settlement over credit card price fixing allegations

Merchants say card companies’ liable for more than $10 billion in damages