UPDATE 1-U.S. seeks info on American Express merchandising

NEW YORK Fri Oct 31, 2008 8:34am EDT

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NEW YORK Oct 31 (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department has asked American Express Co (AXP.N) for information about the credit card company's merchandising policies, according to a company filing on Friday with securities regulators.

American Express said the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department on Oct. 14 requested information about its policies on merchant surcharging and its "anti-steering" policies that prohibit merchants from discriminating against the AmEx credit card in favor of other forms of payment.

The company, the fourth-largest U.S. credit card lender, said the request did not represent the beginning of legal proceedings or presuppose antitrust violations.

American Express, hammered recently by bad debts and increasing financing costs, said it intended to cooperate with the request. (Reporting by Juan Lagorio, editing by John Wallace)

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