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visa-mastercard-shadowThis Christmas season 634,000 retailers across the United States will be getting the final installment of $1.1 billion which completes the $3.4 billion settlement that was won against Visa and MasterCard in a 2003 antitrust lawsuit.

The final payments were originally scheduled to be disbursed in 2012 but both Visa and MasterCard have formally announced plans to accelerate this payment schedule and make the entire $1.1 billion payment by the end of the year.

This settlement is the result of a 2003 antitrust lawsuit that was hotly contested in court for 7 years. The victorious New York law firm of Constantine Cannon made the case that Visa and MasterCard used their size and clout to fix prices and take part in other unfair monopolistic business practices.

In addition to the settlement money that has and will be paid out that comes to $3.4 billion in total exchange fees have also been curtailed because of the lawsuit.

The timing of this final cash installment will come at the perfect time as many retailers are concerned with lower consumer spending through the economic downturn.

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