E-Commerce Implications Of MasterCard, Visa Settlement

As E-Commerce turns almost all retailers into global companies, it's interesting to note that Visa and MasterCard have agreed to pay a total of $336 million to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging the credit card firms shortchanged American consumers in foreign currency transactions, according to an AFP story.

The story said the comanies had been accused of adding surcharges to credit and debit card transactions. As credit card transaction fees account for a growing percentage of retail costs, companies will need to rely on technology to accurately track exchange rates. The habit of some E-tailers to sit on and combine smaller transactions to save on credit card charges makes this even more challenging. Should the exchange rate apply to the instant the purchase was made or the moment it was submitted to the credit card processing agent?