American Express has to pay back $96 million to credit card customers in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories for charging higher interest rates and engaging in other discriminatory practices, according to federal regulators.

The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says that over 200,000 consumers were discriminated against by enforcing stricter credit cutoffs and less debt forgiveness in comparison to U.S-based customers.

According to, one of the discrepancies involved the Platinum Card annual fees, says CFPB Director Richard Cordray.

For example, the company’s PRVI Platinum Card in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands had a $45 annual fee, while the comparable card in the states had no fee, according to the order. Interest rates were also higher for the PRVI card, and credit limits were tighter than those for customers in the states.

Cordray went on to say that the credit card company brought the problems to the bureau’s attention. The disparate practices resulted from having a separate management structure for the affected markets, not because of an intention to discriminate, the CFPB said. As a result, the bureau’s consent order does not include a fine against the company.

“They have ceased this practice and are making consumers whole,” Cordray said.

Under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, lenders are barred from discriminating on the basis of race, sex, national origin or other protected status. Geographic differences in policies – such as excluding certain neighborhoods from mortgage loans – can amount to discrimination against protected groups under the law.

American Express discovered the issues and conducted an internal review, in which the results were then reported to the CFPB in 2013. Although the company voluntarily has paid $95 million back to those affected, they insists that they did not perform any discriminatory acts against their card holders. One million dollars in refunds are still underway.