A pending ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court could broaden the use of mandatory arbitration agreements, which require consumers to settle disputes with banks and credit card companies out of court instead of through class actions.

Ballard Spahr partner Alan Kaplinsky, who writes the clauses in card agreements and even coined the term "class-action waiver," thinks that is how the court will rule. But he said he doesn't see a big impact on credit cards because arbitration clauses are being crafted in consumer-friendly ways, with some letting customers opt out of mandatory arbitration at the beginning of the agreement.

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Consumer Financial Services