Walmart Begins Ban of VISA

walmartvisa

CBJ — Consumers likely didn’t think it would come to this but Walmart has followed through on its threat to ban the use of Visa cards at its Canadian stores with three locations in Thunder Bay no longer accepting the credit card payment option. If negotiations don’t improve the retail giant says it will remove Visa as a payment option at all 400 of its Canadian locations.

At issue are the exorbitant fees that Visa charges. Walmart says it pays more than $100 million in annual fees for customers using cards such as Visa and Mastercard.

Despite the current impasse, Walmart says it remains optimistic that an agreement will eventually be reached with Canada’s largest credit card company.

Visa, meantime, says it will do everything “reasonable” to ensure Canadians can use their Visa cards everywhere they want to shop, including at Walmart stores.

Visa last month accused Walmart of using consumers as pawns in its battle over merchant fees with its threat to ban the popular credit card.

Visa defended itself, saying it offered Walmart one of the lowest rates of any merchant in Canada. But it said the world’s largest retailer wanted more — costs that would be lower than local groceries, pharmacies, convenience stores, charities and schools.

The Retail Council of Canada has called on the federal government to intervene to mandate lower fees for all merchants.

A spokesman for Finance Minister Bill Morneau says he’s waiting to receive a report on a 2014 voluntary 10% fee reduction by Visa and Mastercard before deciding the next move.

In a poll by Angus Reid Institute, nearly 60% of respondents agree with Walmart, but the bad news for the retailer is that about 48% of shoppers who use Visa at Walmart say they would be less likely to shop there if the card was no longer accepted.

@CanBizJournal

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