North American retailer Walmart said that it will no longer accept Visa cards at its 370 stores across Canada, following its failure to agree a deal with the payment card firm.
Walmart Canada stores in Thunder Bay in the northwestern part of Ontario will be the first to stop accepting Visa cards from July 18, and the ban will be extended “in phases” to the rest of its Canada stores. The move will not affect the US stores of parent Wal-Mart Stores.
“To ensure we are taking care of our customers’ best interests and delivering on our promise of saving customers money, we constantly work to reduce our operating costs, including credit card fees,” Walmart Canada said in a statement, adding it remained “optimistic that we will reach an agreement with Visa”.
Walmart Canada believes that fees applied to Visa card purchases “remain unacceptably high”. A company spokesman said the retailer pays more than C$100m (US$78.3m) annually in credit card fees, but that the specific transaction fees applied by Visa are part of “confidential agreements.” However, Canadian retailers have long complained of what they believe are excessive interchange fees paid to credit card companies.
Visa responded by accusing Walmart Canada of putting its own financial interests ahead of its customers. “Walmart made this business decision despite Visa offering one of the lowest rates available to any merchant in the country,” a spokesperson said.
In 2014 Visa and MasterCard agreed to reduce Canadian transaction rates to an average effective rate of 1.5%, after complaints about their fees resulted in the threat of government intervention.
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