According to this report, last month the Federal Trade Commission asked Visa to voluntarily provide information regarding debit-processing practices. Specifically, the commission us interested in looking at how Visa is processing PIN-debit transactions.
Visa said the request focuses on the “purposes, implementation, and impact of” its “optional PIN Debit Gateway Service.” The company said it is cooperating with the bureau, and that revenue from the service is not material.
The ability for Visa to shift PIN-debit transactions to its signature-debit network has taken on a new strategic imperative for it as the company looks for the means to maintain its dominant position in the U.S. debit market. However, the practice is controversial and the government may ultimately consider it to be anti-competitive as well. For now, this new inquiry appears to be a data-gathering exercise.