Despite heavy opposition from powerhouse retailers like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target, the $7.2 billion settlement between Visa Inc., MasterCard Inc. and several banks on one side, and a class of merchants on the other, has received preliminary approval.

U.S. District Judge John Gleeson granted the deal preliminary approval on Friday, leaving it only the hurdle of final approval to leap over before becoming the largest antitrust settlement in U.S. history. Before that, though, Gleeson will schedule a hearing to allow the objectors to the settlement a chance to be heard.

The deal addresses claims that the credit card companies and banks fixed swipe fees, which cost retailers every time a consumer purchases something with a debit or credit card. Those opposed to the settlement say that it allows Visa and MasterCard to raise the fees in the future.

In light of preliminary approval, however, Visa and MasterCard agreed to amend their policies within 60 days to allow merchants to charge customers extra for using credit or debit cards. Out of the $7.2 billion, $1.2 billion of the settlement consists of a reduction in swipe fees, which will take place whether or not Gleeson grants the deal final approval, after class members have been given time to opt out of receiving monetary damages.

Read more at the Chicago Tribune.


Follow the saga of the settlement on InsideCounsel:

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