The bank card brands' two most prominent competitors have growth on their minds - and aggressive though contrasting strategies for achieving it.

Those competitors, American Express and Discover, have had a hard time cutting into MasterCard's and Visa's market shares, according to data from The Nilson Report. American Express had 17.58% of first-quarter 1999 card spending, and Discover had 5.43%, down from the comparable 1998 period.

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