Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Walmart Canada to No Longer Accept Visa Cards at Its 16 Manitoba Stores

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Walmart Canada to No Longer Accept Visa Cards at Its 16 Manitoba Stores

Article excerpt

Walmart to stop accepting Visa in Manitoba

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TORONTO - Walmart Canada continued its battle with Visa over merchant fees Thursday, with an announcement that it will no longer accept the popular credit card at any of its Manitoba stores starting next month.

The U.S.-based retail giant said the change will come into effect at all 16 locations in the province as of Oct. 24. Customers will still be able to pay for purchases with cash, debit, MasterCard and American Express cards.

Walmart pledged in June that it would stop accepting Visa at its more than 400 Canadian stores, arguing that it unfairly pays more than $100 million annually in credit card fees.

Three Thunder Bay, Ont., stores were the first locations to drop the credit card on July 18.

Walmart spokesman Alex Roberton said it decided to continue the phase-out in Manitoba after seeing the small impact it made in Thunder Bay.

"There has been no surprises. Reaction from customers has been better than expected," he said, noting that the Visa ban in Manitoba Walmarts will involve retraining cashiers and reprogramming payment equipment.

Roberton said the retailer is singling out Visa because its fees are higher than its rivals, refuting the idea that the decision is due to attempts to promote the usage of Walmart's own branded MasterCard.

"The reason why we're doing it is because the fees are too high," he said. "Visa is the company we're dealing with right now."

When asked whether Walmart has plans to ban any other credit cards from its stores, he replied that he wasn't going to speculate on what the company will do in the future.

Visa, the country's largest credit card firm, declined a request for an interview but said in a statement that Walmart's decision to drop Visa at more store locations was "disappointing."

"We know from our experience in Thunder Bay that consumers want the option to use the payment method of their choice when shopping -- including at Walmart stores," said spokeswoman Carla Hindman in an email. …

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