NEW YORK -- Cutthroat competition from American Express Co. is throttling the business plans of Interpayment Services Ltd., the chief issuer of Visa Travelers Cheques worldwide.

Interpayment, a joint venture between Barclays Bank and BankAmerica Corp., may drop out of some markets and is laying off staff as a result of declining profitability, said Richard Butt, its chief executive officer.

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