Department of Justice Final Judgment on Rule Changes

In October 2010, both MasterCard and Visa entered into a proposed consent decree and final judgment with the Department of Justice that required both payment card networks to modify their policies and procedures regarding the merchant’s ability to recommend any preferred card brand or card type in United States. The consent decree and final judgment requires that both card schemes direct their acquirers to provide US and US Territory merchants with notice of the final judgment and a description of the their rules changes and the POS practices that merchants are expressly permitted to engage in pursuant to the terms of the judgment. The description of the rules changes can be found at the following links:

MasterCard http://www.globalpaymentsinc.com/MCFinalRuling.html

Visa http://www.globalpaymentsinc.com/VisaFinalRuling.html

The Department of Justice has provided a link to the final judgment: http://www.justice.gov/atr/cases/f273100/273170.pdf

The Department of Justice consent decree permits merchants to steer customers to other forms of payment by various methods described in the rules changes discussed herein. However, merchants that choose to accept MasterCard or Visa credit cards must continue to accept for payment all properly presented MasterCard or Visa cards. In addition, merchants are not permitted to surcharge consumers who use MasterCard or Visa cards.

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