U.S. orders Mastercard to stop blocking competing payment networks

Mastercard Inc. credit cards are displayed in this picture illustrationMastercard Inc. credit cards are displayed in this picture illustration taken December 8, 2017. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/Illustration//File Photo

Dec 23 (Reuters) – The Biden administration on Friday said it was ordering Mastercard Inc (MA.N) to stop blocking the use of competing networks to process debit payments.

Under a proposed order, Mastercard would have to start providing competing payment networks with the customer account information they need to process payments, the Federal Trade Commission, which enforces competition laws, said in a statement.

“This is a victory for consumers and the merchants who rely on debit card payments to operate their businesses,” Holly Vedova, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, said in a statement.

In a statement, Mastercard said it had reached an agreement with the commission on the routing of certain debit card transations, adding that it believes its current practices are "lawful" and that it provides options to merchants.

"We will continue the work to update our processes to comply with the consent order and provide even greater choice," the company said.

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