Thanks to a recently settled court case, people in New England may soon see the prices of some goods and services drop slightly.

This is especially true for those dealing with small businesses.

According to a Fox 5 article, a settlement has been reached between a group of U. S. merchants and several large credit card companies.

The lawsuit, filed as ‘In re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation’, relates to swipe fees charged by Visa and Mastercard.

For those who are unaware, credit card companies charge a fee for each transaction they process.  Typically, the total fee is a flat amount added to a percentage of the total sale.  Usually, 1% to 3% of the total.

Businesses often pass these fees on to their customers.  Of course, there is a limit to the amount they can increase the cost of products or services before customers start shopping elsewhere.

This is one of the reasons that we are seeing more businesses making the switch to cash-only.  In some places, where it is allowed, you may have noticed that businesses are tacking on credit card processing fees.  It appears that this is most common in restaurants and bars.

Fabio Alves via Unsplash
Fabio Alves via Unsplash

Under the settlement, processing fees will be capped through 2030.

Experts say this could save $30 billion in swipe fees.

The hope is that assuming the settlement gets final approval from the Eastern District Court of New York, the savings in fees will be passed on to consumers.  So don't be surprised if you start to see the cost of some things begin to drop slightly.

Businesses that had cards processed by Visa Mastercard between January 2004 and January 2019 may also be eligible to receive money from the $5.5 billion settlement.

Get all the details about filing HERE.  Do not wait too long though.  The deadline for filing is May 31, 2024.

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