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American Express card rules violate US antitrust law: judge

American Express has said that its "premium" services justify its processing fees, which are higher than some rivals charge. It also said that its merchant rules help it compete with Visa and MasterCard, which together have more than 1.1 billion cards in the US versus 55 million for American Express.

New York

AMERICAN Express Co violated US antitrust law by prohibiting merchants from steering consumers to use lower-cost credit cards, a federal judge ruled last week, in the company's second major setback in February.

The decision by US District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in