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Fitch Ratings: Credit card settlement unlikely to impact industry

August 1, 2012

The recent settlement that forced some of the largest credit card companies in the world to shell out billions of dollars won’t have a major impact on the industry, according to Fitch Ratings.

The recent settlement that forced some of the largest credit card companies in the world to shell out billions of dollars won’t have a major impact on the industry, according to Fitch Ratings.

In a release, the credit ratings agency said that the antitrust settlement, which resulted in MasterCard, Visa and other firms paying $6 billion, would have a “modest” effect on the sector. It points to the fact that the agreement doesn’t impose long-term caps on the interchange fees that firms can charge. It added that the settlement “supports a merchants’ ability” to pass costs onto customers.

“While the agreement reached on July 13 offers merchants an opportunity to temporarily reduce interchange fees paid to banks, we do not believe that the fundamental economics of credit card transactions have been changed materially as a result of the settlement,” Fitch stated in the release.

Other recent settlements have forced credit card companies, which often deal with merchant services, to pay large sums. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ordered Capital One to pay $210 million for misleading consumers.

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