Today Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. won approval for a $5.7 billion settlement that ended years of litigation with United States merchants over allegations that credit card swipe fees are improperly fixed. U.S. District Judge John Gleeson said that he was satisfied with the settlement, which was estimated to be the largest-ever U.S. antitrust accord. “For the first time, merchants will be empowered to expose hidden bank fees to their customers, educate them about those fees and use that information to influence their customers’ choices of payment methods,” Gleeson wrote in his ruling today in federal court in Brooklyn, New York. He further stated "I conclude that the proposed settlement secures both a significant damage award and meaningful injunctive relief for a class of merchants that would face a substantial likelihood of securing no relief at all if this case were to proceed." Judge Gleeson also approved as final the parties' proposed damage allocation plan. A status conference in the matter is scheduled for January 10, 2014, and various trade associations and retailers already have indicated that they would appeal the court's determination.

We will continue to monitor developments regarding this case and will keep you informed.