MasterCard Inc. settled a lawsuit Monday, the same day it was filed by the Department of Justice, regarding payment network rules that prohibit so-called merchant steering.
The settlement pertains to a review the DOJ initiated in 2008 regarding rules that MasterCard, Visa Inc. and other payments networks impose on merchants over acceptance of payments cards bearing their brands. Most payments networks prohibit merchants from taking steps to steer consumers from using one brand’s card instead of another to get lower interchange rates.
Erica Harvill, a spokeswoman for MasterCard, confirmed that the Purchase, N.Y., company had reached a settlement but would not provide additional details.
A Visa spokesman declined to comment.
The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that Visa and MasterCard were close to settling the Justice Department's probe, citing anonymous sources.
Visa Chairman and Chief Executive Joseph Saunders said during the San Francisco company's earnings conference call in July that it was working towards a resolution of the DOJ's concerns.
"This is a dialogue that we've had with them for a lengthy period," Saunders said at the time. "Things are moving in a direction that we have anticipated and so we’re not unhappy with where we are."