American Express merchant policies are anti-competitive, judge rules
A federal judge in Brooklyn has ruled that American Express violated antitrust laws by barring merchants from encouraging customers to pay with other lower-cost credit cards.
Judge Nicholas Garaufis ruled against American Express on Thursday in a suit filed in 2010 by the U.S. Justice Department and 17 states, report the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) and Reuters.
American Express has charged higher fees to merchants than competitors such as Visa and MasterCard. Its agreement with merchants banned them from giving consumers incentives to use other cards or encouraging use of the competitor cards.
The company says it will appeal.