Visa stock tumbles as company confirms DOJ antitrust probe
By Noah Manskar
Visa’s stock price slid Friday as the card giant confirmed that the feds are probing whether it has used anticompetitive practices to maintain its dominance in the debit-card market.
Shares in the payment processor tumbled 6.2 percent to close at $206.90 after the Wall Street Journal reported that the US Justice Department’s antitrust division has the company in its cross hairs.
Investigators are examining whether Visa improperly blocks merchants from routing debit-card transactions through rival payment networks that often charge lower fees, according to the paper, which cited unnamed people familiar with the matter.
In a regulatory filing on Friday afternoon, Visa confirmed it is cooperating with the DOJ, which has ordered it “to preserve relevant documents related to the investigation,” adding, “We believe Visa’s US debit practices are in compliance with applicable laws.”
The feds reportedly are weighing whether Visa is using illegal tactics to maintain its grip on an industry that rakes in billions of dollars in fees a year.
Visa’s total payment volume totaled $8.9 trillion in 2019, according to its latest annual report — nearly twice as much as Mastercard, the market’s second-largest player.
Merchants accepting debit card purchases reportedly have complained for years that they often cannot use smaller networks, such as NYCE or Shazam, whe