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DoJ takes on Visa and Mastercard

Slapped wrists for stifling smart card competition

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The US Department of Justice has filed an antitrust suit against Visa and Mastercard, alleging the two credit card agencies have stifled competition in the emerging smart card business. The DoJ claims Visa and Mastercards' member banks -- many of whom are represented on the governing bodies of both card associations, which the DoJ says, with some justification, inherently diminishes competition -- agreed not to target each other in advertising campaigns and to exclude (presumably from ATM support and the like) cards issued by banks who are not members, such as American Express. The suit asks that banks be forced to align with one network or the other, and would formally end exclusion rules. ® Click for more stories

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