Visa prepared to settle seven year credit interchange fee lawsuit

Visa is prepared to issue a settlement as soon as next week in an ongoing lawsuit brought against the company by retailers in order to cut their credit processing costs.

The settlement could include a temporary decrease in interchange or “swipe” fees, as well as payments to retailers. Morgan Stanley analysts reported that high-ranking Visa executives had participated in settlement talks on the agreement, which may still be delayed or fall through, Bloomberg reports.

In 2005, merchants asserted that Visa had violated antitrust laws by fixing interchange fees. The fees average approximately two percent of the purchase price with the proceeds forwarded to card-issuing banks.

The accords would prevent a trial that is set to begin in September in Brooklyn, New York. Morgan Stanley analyst Glenn Fodor, along with other analysts, issued a report last month that suggested a settlement could be near, adding in the report that top Visa executives had attended at least one day of the settlement negotiations.

“Our conversations with legal experts indicate that while it is normal for a judge to mandate parties to participate in settlement discussions, it is not typically the norm for the highest levels of management to attend,” the analysts said in a June memo, according to Bloomberg. “There is a very low likelihood of this case going to trial, and these actions by the court support that.”