Walmart Expands Visa Ban

CBJ — The dispute between Walmart Canada and Visa over merchant fees heats up today as the retail giant stops accepting the credit card at its 16 stores in Manitoba.

Walmart first refused Visa credit cards at its three stores in Thunder Bay, Ont., in mid-July, arguing that the financial services firm charges high fees to merchants.

A spokesman for Walmart says the company pays more than $100 million a year in credit card fees and is focused on reducing Visa transaction costs. According to the retailer the impact has been minimal, with stores simply having seen an increase in cash and debit payments.

Walmart announced in June that it would expand its phase-out of Visa at all of its Canadian stores — more than 400. It’s not yet known what region will be targeted for the next shutdown phase.

Visa would only say that Walmart’s action to further limit Visa acceptance in Canada is “disappointing.”

Visa has said it offered Walmart one of the lowest rates for any merchant in the country, but Walmart wanted fees that would have been lower than those charged to local grocery markets, pharmacies, convenience stores, charities and schools.

Despite the dispute, both companies say they are committed to working out a solution.