AmEx triumphs in dispute with Visa

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MEXICO CITY -- Mexico's Federal Competition Commission (CFC) has ruled in favor of American Express in a dispute over monopolistic practices with credit card company Visa.

American Express had filed a formal complaint against Visa International Service Association and Visa International Mexico, alleging that they tried to prevent member banks in the Visa system from signing any contracts with rival credit card companies.

Visa executives testified that that had not been their intention, the CFC said in a September 11 statement.

Although Visa will not be fined, it must formally notify each of its member banks of the ruling. The CFC also said it reserved the right to impose fines or other sanctions should another violation occur.

"Now it is possible for banking institutions to contract freely with any provider of credit card services," the CFC said. The independent government agency is charged with enforcing Mexican laws on competition and free markets.

American Express reportedly has already signed a contract for a corporate credit card with Bital, one of the leading consumer banks.

Copyright September 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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