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Visa and Mastercard have reached a $30 billion deal that will reduce merchant fees

Visa and Mastercard have reached a $30 billion deal that will reduce merchant fees

(CNN) — Two of the world's largest credit card networks, Visa and Mastercard, as well as the banks that issue cards with them, have agreed to settle an antitrust case brought by merchants for decades.

The deal aims to reduce the swipe fees merchants pay when customers make purchases using Visa or Mastercard by $30 billion over five years, according to a press release announcing the deal Tuesday morning.

The settlement, which applies only to US traders, is the result of a lawsuit filed in 2005. However, nothing is considered final until it receives approval from the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Even then, the case could also be appealed in what could be a long battle.

Typically, swipe fees cost merchants 2% of the total transaction a customer makes, however It can be up to 4% for some cards of premium rewards, according to the National Retail Federation. The agreement would reduce these rates by no less than 0.04 percentage points for a period of no less than three years.

Rewards currently earned by Visa cardholders will not be affected, Kim Lawrence, Visa's North America president, said in a statement Tuesday morning. In addition, he added, there will be no further restrictions on Americans' access to credit as a result of this agreement.

Rewards and access to credit will also not be affected by the deal, MasterCard spokesman Seth Eisen told CNN.

Tuesday's news comes just one month after Discover and Capital One announced a merger that, if approved by financial regulators and shareholders, would create the nation's largest credit card company.

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Shares of Visa and Mastercard rose slightly Tuesday morning after the deal was announced.