Appeals court rules for American Express in fee dispute

AP News
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Posted: Sep 26, 2016 3:49 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal appeals court in New York says American Express did not violate antitrust laws by barring merchants from asking customers to use one credit card over another.

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday. It says a Brooklyn judge erred by focusing entirely on the interests of merchants rather than cardholders when he ruled in February 2015.

American Express Co. had argued its policies kept it competitive against the large payment networks of Visa and MasterCard and their bank partners.

Central to the case were the fees merchants pay to process credit and debit cards. Those fees are largely hidden from the average consumer but are a major cost for merchants that accept credit cards.

Consumers sometimes indirectly pay more for products and services as merchants pass the cost along.