After years of prohibiting merchants who accept its cards from steering customers to other brands, American Express is lifting these restrictions.
The change comes after a federal judge found in February that AmEx’s rules on the matter were anti-competitive. This week, a separate court denied the company’s request to keep the rules in place pending its appeal.
This means that starting next month, merchants will be able to offer discounts or rebates to customers paying with a card from Visa or MasterCard and display signs showing which card brand they prefer. Visa and MasterCard could also negotiate lower fees with certain merchants in exchange for the merchant agreeing to steer customers towards their cards.
Merchants, who pay a percentage of each card transaction to card-issuing banks, have long complained that they pay more when customers swipe an AmEx card than when they use other types of plastic.