Posts by jerry pollio

AmEx to Stop Merchant Curbs

credit-card brandsThe credit card giants in the United States are gearing up to slug it out at the checkout counter once again.

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.

Amex to Stop Merchant Curbs

AT&T Ad Claims Draw FCC Heat

att logoDATA FINE: The Federal Communications Commission wants to bring the hammer down on AT&T, saying it will fine the telecommunications giant $100 million (the largest proposed fine in FCC history) for allegedly deceiving customers about unlimited wireless data plans, The Wall Street Journal reports.

It was the advertising for the plans that got the company in trouble. The FCC says AT&T marketed plans as “unlimited” before capping data speeds after customers used 5 gigabytes of data. The capped speeds were then considerably slower, the FCC says.

AT&T claims the FCC had said the practice was legitimate and that it had been clear about the practices on its website. But the FCC isn’t having it. “Unlimited means unlimited,” Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc said.