Visa International said its Asia-Pacific directors will not adopt a rule to prevent member banks from issuing competing card brands like American Express and JCB.
Visa's Asia-Pacific board, which met last week, is one of three regional boards to go that route. Only the Visa Canada board and that of the Cemea region - Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa - have not formally voted on an issue that American Express Co. has tried to bring to the attention of competition and antitrust regulators around the world.
American Express has sought to prevent the Visa regions from following a Visa U.S.A. bylaw that prohibits member banks from issuing American Express or Discover cards.
Visa's Asia-Pacific president, Dennis M. Goggin, accused American Express of relying on "media and government authorities to fight the battles which typically occur in the free market."
The Visa office in Singapore issued a statement that "Visa member banks have no interest in issuing American Express cards."
American Express, which wants to enter marketing partnerships with banks, mounted significant attacks in Latin America and Europe, where it has gained support from government authorities. The New York financial services company has not invested as much energy in Asia.
MasterCard International told its members in the Asia-Pacific region in July that it is not "appropriate" for them to participate in competing card programs. A spokesman for the association said the policy was meant to mirror that in the United States, where members cannot issue competitors' card brands.
Asia-Pacific countries such as China, India, Japan, and Korea are among the card industry's most attractive and fast-growing emerging markets. Visa's card volume there grew 25%, to $104 billion, in the 12 months ended June 30.
In a statement Friday, American Express said Visa's Asian policy and other regional moves imply Visa should drop the controversial U.S. bylaw.