American Express, Costco to end US exclusivity deal

FILE - In this Dec. 7, 2011 file photo, a shopper leaves a Costco store in Portland, Ore. Costco shoppers who have been limited for years to American Express credit cards may be able to pluck a new option from their wallets or purses next year when an exclusivity deal between the two companies expires on March 31, 2016. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
FILE - In this Dec. 7, 2011 file photo, a shopper leaves a Costco store in Portland, Ore. Costco shoppers who have been limited for years to American Express credit cards may be able to pluck a new option from their wallets or purses next year when an exclusivity deal between the two companies expires on March 31, 2016. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

(AP) – American Express is ending next year a 16-year-old agreement with Costco Wholesale that calls for the exclusive use of its cards at the retailer’s U.S. stores.

The charge card company says it hasn’t been able to agree with Costco on renewal terms that make economic sense for American Express. The deal lasts until March 31, 2016.

American Express said Thursday morning that it charges Costco a significantly lower rate than the overall average it imposes on other retailers as part of the agreement.

A company spokeswoman says a similar agreement involving Costco’s Canadian stores ended last year.

A Costco Wholesale Corp. representative did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Shares of American Express Co. are falling in Thursday morning trading.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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