Further, “Amex’s business model has spurred robust interbrand competition and has increased the quality and quantity of credit-card transactions,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in the five to four ruling.
“This has been an ongoing battle over interchange fees,” said Joe Resendiz, a credit cards research analyst at ValuePenguin. Although for the most part, “consumers are not really aware of what goes on behind the curtain,” he added.
All in, swipe fees generate more than $50 billion a year, according to the Justice Department.
“Swipe fees are the engine that powers the whole credit card rewards game,” Matt Schulz, a senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com, said in a statement.
“If those fees had taken a hit, which was a real possibility if the ruling had gone against Amex, it would’ve been great news for merchants’ bottom line but almost certainly would have marked the end of the golden era of credit card rewards,” Schulz said.