American Express has argued its clients are wealthier and spend more.

What the American Express Supreme Court victory means for you

It has an impact on consumer prices and rewards.

Recent court decisions about credit cards will affect you — whether you use a credit card or not.

American Express AXP, -0.01% won a Supreme Court case this week that will prohibit merchants from giving customers incentives to use credit cards that aren’t made by American Express.

That’s a win for the credit card giant and a loss for consumers, some advocates say.

Stores sometimes don’t accept AmEx cards because AmEx charges merchants a higher interchange, or “swipe fee,” than its competitors do. When consumers buy items with their American Express cards, the credit-card company charges the store an average of 2.37% globally. That compares to the typically less than 2% Mastercard MA, +0.45% and Visa V, +0.60% say they charge merchants.

Swipe fees vary, and Mastercard and Visa may charge more or less when other factors — such as acquirer fees and network fees — are taken into account. American Express has historically charged more than its competitors, the Wall Street Journal reported. But over time it has lowered its fees, and there is now “little or no difference between our average rates and the cost of acceptance for Visa and Mastercard credit cards in the U.S. today,” a spokesman for American Express told MarketWatch.
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