Making Good On Its Threat, Walmart Stops Accepting Visa at Some Canadian Stores
Threat delivered, threat executed: Walmart has started to reject the use of Visa payment cards in some of the retailer’s Canadian stores. The chain had earlier said it would do so because of an interchange dispute with the payments network.
Three stores in Canada—located in Thunder Bay, Ontario, a city along the relatively isolated northwestern shore of Lake Superior—no longer accept Visa cards. Walmart says the interchange it pays on Visa transactions in Canada runs about four times higher than in other countries. Walmart plans to expand the policy to its 400 other stores in Canada but the retailer gave no timeline.
“Unfortunately, Visa and Walmart have been unable to agree on an acceptable fee for Visa transactions,” said Walmart. “We believe credit card fees should be lower for everyone, whether they are a large retailer, small retailer or a charity. Canadians deserve better than paying a hidden fee. We are taking a stand for our customers because Visa’s high fees can result in increased prices.” Retailers often argue that lower interchange would result in lower prices for consumers, but lower consumer prices have not materialized in the U.S. following debit interchange caps.
Visa had no immediate comment but said in June that “Walmart is unfairly dragging millions of Canadian consumers into the middle of a business disagreement that can and should be resolved between our companies. We are disappointed in their actions. And we are concerned about the negative impact their decision to stop accepting Visa will have on loyal shoppers across Canada.”
Walmart and Visa also have filed dueling lawsuits in the U.S. over customers’ use of signatures or PINs to verify purchases with EMV-equipped debit cards at Walmart.