The Department of Justice (DOJ) is looking into Visa’s relationships with large FinTechs, citing antitrust concerns, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.
The investigators are concerned about financial incentives Visa gave to PayPal, Square and Stripe, looking into whether those payments were keeping the companies from using other card networks or money movement technologies beyond Visa, according to the report.
Visa is the U.S.’s biggest card network, and it, along with rivals like Mastercard, have been squeamish about activity from competitors, the report stated. FinTech firms must pay fees that Visa sets to send transactions over its rails — a model which other big networks also use.
Visa has offered lower fees or other rewards in exchange for FinTech firms using the company more often than others, according to the report. The DOJ has taken an interest in the pricing arrangements in which Visa offered financial incentives to PayPal, which could have influenced the company to urge consumers to make payments on Visa-branded cards.
In addition, the DOJ is looking into a deal Visa made with Square’s Cash App around six years ago, in which Visa offered to lower fees for Square and send performance payments to the company, which would increase when Square sent more transactions to Visa, the report stated.
Finally, the investigation is looking into whether Visa restricted merchants from routing debit card transactions through other rails, with the company previously addressing the matter by saying it thought its practices in the U.S. “are in compliance with applicable laws,” according to the report.
In March, the DOJ was considering a probe into Visa’s debit card processes concerning alleged anticompetitive practices.
At the time, Visa had opted out of a planned $5.3 billion purchase of Plaid because of a DOJ lawsuit’s objections, challenging the purchase on the grounds that it would give Visa a monopoly.