Credit card industry faces uncertainty after federal suits

Credit card industry faces uncertainty after federal suits. Credit card issuers American Express, Visa and MasterCard face uncertain futures after the U.S. Justice Department brought forth lawsuits that accused them of violating antitrust laws, according to the Bedford Report. Visa and MasterCard both opted to settle the lawsuits, which were related to the fees they charged to merchants for every credit card transaction they processed. Now, retailers can offer lower prices to consumers who opt to pay for a purchase without taking on credit card debt.

However, American Express, which makes more from any transaction involving credit card debt than other issuers, has decided to fight the lawsuit, throwing even more doubt over what will become of its policies, the report said. If AmEx were to lose the lawsuit, it's not clear how their new policies would affect consumers.

Prior to the suits, merchants had protested these interchange fees for months, saying that they cost them thousands of dollars a year, even for smaller businesses.