High Court Pries Open Credit CardMarket

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WASHINGTON - (10/05/04) -- The Supreme Court let stand a lowercourt ruling that will require MasterCard International and VISAUSA to drop bylaws banning member banks and credit unions fromissuing other credit cards. The ruling opens the way for AmericanExpress and Discover to market their cards to credit unions andbanks that already issue one of the two major card brands. Thelower court had ruled that both Mastercard and Visa, which areowned by banks, violated antitrust laws with so-called exclusionaryclauses that banned their card issuers from offering competingcards. The High Court ruling paves the way for AmEx and MBNA topress forward with their plans to issue AmEx-branded cards throughbanks and credit unions that already offer one of the two majorbrands. Separately, Discover and its parent, Morgan Stanley, filedsuit Monday asking the two card associations, MasterCard and Visa,to pay it $1 billion in damages for harmed caused by theexclusionary clauses.

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