LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Consumers using credit cards could be hit with fees as a result of a settlement reached between credit card companies, banks and retailers.

Visa, Inc. and MasterCard, Inc. agreed Friday night to pay a number of retailers $6 billion to settle what some are calling “the largest antitrust settlement in U.S. history.”

The long-running suit dates back to 2005 when a large number of retailers — including Safeway, Walgreens, Vons, Ralphs amongst others — alleged that the card issuers conspired to fix the fees stores pay to accept credit cards.

Retailers like Ralphs and Vons were used to paying “swipe fees” of 2 percent or more every time a shopper uses a credit card. As part of the settlement, they will no longer be required to shoulder those fees.

Additionally, credit card companies have agreed to reduce those fees for eight months. This does not apply to debit cards.


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