Visa shares fell sharply on Friday after a report said the Justice Department opened an investigation into its debit card business and possible anti-competitive practices.
The company said Friday afternoon that investigators have begun gathering information about visa debiting practices.
The Wall Street Journal, which first covered the investigation, said the DOJ was trying to determine if the largest card network in the US has restricted merchants’ ability to route debit card transactions over lower-cost networks.
Sources told the Journal that investigators’ questions focus on online debit card transactions, but also include inquiries about problems in the business. The Justice Department declined to comment.
Visa, which had put pressure on its shares the previous Friday, fell abruptly from around $ 218.50 per share to below $ 207 by the close of trading on Friday. The losses caused the stock to drop more than 6% during the session.
The research focuses on the role of network fees, fees that payment processors charge merchants to gain access to the processor’s vast network, the journal said. According to reports, investigators will attempt to determine whether Visa’s fee policy is unlawfully leading to unfair dominance.