Starbucks, Alaska Airlines and Amazon.com are among 634,000 companies receiving $1.1 billion in payments from the 2003 settlement of antitrust ligitation with Visa and MasterCard. Seattle companies overall will receive $16.8 million.

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Starbucks, Alaska Airlines and Amazon.com are among 634,000 companies receiving $1.1 billion in payments from the 2003 settlement of antitrust ligitation with Visa and MasterCard. Seattle companies overall will receive $16.8 million.

The New York law firm that negotiated the settlement, Constantine Cannon, called it the largest antitrust settlement in U.S. history and said it stopped Visa and MasterCard from forcing merchants to accept “exorbitantly priced” Visa and MasterCard debit cards as a condition of accepting their credit cards. The settlement also makes the card brands more clearly distinguish their debit cards from credit cards.

Merchants pay fees to accept credit or debit card payments.

This month’s payment is the final disbursement of a $3.4 billion settlement that was not due to be paid until 2012. The card brands agreed to pay earlier at a discount, AP reported.