Supreme Court upholds ban on steering credit card users


A stab at allowing restaurants and other retailers to steer customers toward credit cards with lower merchant fees was shot down Friday by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The nation’s highest court ruled that American Express did not violate antitrust laws by prohibiting businesses accepting its card from encouraging patrons to use Mastercard, Visa or other credit cards. The ruling went against a challenge from Ohio and 10 other states. 

The states argued that American Express’ rule ultimately led to higher consumer prices because merchants passed along the higher fees they pay for accepting the charge card. In a 5-4 decision, the high court disagreed, saying the plaintiffs had not proven that AmEx’s ban artificially inflated prices. Instead, it noted that the charge card giant provides better benefits to card users, which makes a higher price reasonable and reflective of the market.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


Crumbl may be the next frozen yogurt, or the next Krispy Kreme

The Bottom Line: With word that the chain’s unit volumes took a nosedive last year, its future, and that of its operators, depends on what the brand does next.


4 things we learned in a wild week for restaurant tech

Tech Check: If you blinked, you may have missed three funding rounds, two acquisitions, a “never-before-seen” new product and a bold executive poaching. Let’s get caught up.


High restaurant menu prices mean high customer expectations

The Bottom Line: Diners are paying high prices to eat out at all kinds of restaurants these days. And they’re picking winners and losers.


More from our partners