Citibank, the largest MasterCard issuer, is gearing up to add American Express cards to its product arsenal late next year. Citibank becomes the second card issuer to partner with American Express in the U.S., on the heels of MBNA. The two deals follow the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in October not to hear appeals from VISA and MasterCard in regard to a 2001 U.S. District ruling that the card associations violated antitrust laws by prohibiting their members from issuing competitive cards such as American Express and Discover cards. In January of this year, MBNA announced plans to issue American Express cards, rolling out its first products immediately after the U.S. Supreme Court decision in October. Last month, American Express filed a lawsuit against VISA, MasterCard, and eight major banks seeking damages under antitrust law. Among the top ten U.S. issuers, AmEx excluded MBNA and Citibank from the lawsuit. The banks sued by AmEx include J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Capital One, U.S. Bancorp, Household Bank, Wells Fargo, Providian National Bank and USAA Federal Savings Bank. The terms of the AmEx-Citibank deal mirror those of the MBNA agreement. Citibank will be responsible for issuing the cards, managing the customer relationships, providing service, billing and credit management and designing the card product features.