Visa, AmEx, Mastercard Face Brazilian Probe Over Competition Law

(Bloomberg) -- Visa Inc., American Express Co. and Mastercard Inc. are among firms being investigated by Brazilian regulators over some rules governing use of payment networks.

The Brazilian Administrative Council for Economic Defense, or CADE, is also probing that nation’s Elo network, Visa said Friday in an annual regulatory filing. At issue is a network rule that requires a merchant’s bank to receive certain information from payment facilitators, Visa said.

Brazil’s payments industry has swelled in recent years, with more than 30 processors attending a meeting with the country’s central bank to handle and settle payments. Two such companies -- StoneCo Ltd. and PagSeguro Digital Ltd. -- debuted on U.S. stock exchanges earlier this year.

Visa said it is cooperating with CADE, which started its investigation on Oct. 15. A Mastercard spokesman didn’t have an immediate comment when reached. AmEx said it wasn’t contacted directly by CADE about the investigation, but will cooperate with regulators. A spokeswoman for Elo didn’t immediately respond to an email sent after business hours.

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