Sam's Club boots Discover, partners with MasterCard

Discover is out and MasterCard is in at Sam's Club (NYSE:WMT). The retailer has finalized a multi-year agreement with GE Capital Retail Bank to manage its co-branded credit cards in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

And so ends Sam's Club's 10-year relationship with Discover Financial Services, which had been managing the co-branded cards for both Sam's Club and Walmart. 
As part of the extension, GE Capital's Retail Finance business will continue to manage and service the credit card programs for Sam's Club Savings, Business and Plus members. Under the agreement, the Sam's Club co-branded credit card programs will be converted to MasterCard later this year, providing members with a broader card acceptance network, as well as more robust features and benefits.

Walmart has also extended their relationship with GE Capital Retail Bank and branded cards will transition to MasterCard later this year.
"The conversion of the Walmart and Sam's Club co-brand programs to MasterCard is further evidence of the strong and growing partnership between our organizations for the benefit of consumers," Craig Vosburg, MasterCard's chief product officer, told Bloomberg.

The new cards will be issued in June and Walmart-branded cards will be distributed later this summer, said Walmart spokeswoman, Brooke Buchanan.

Existing Walmart and Sam's Club Discover cards issued by GE are being phased out during a year-long process. Discover credit cards will still be accepted at both Sam's Club and Walmart.

Walmart has been battling both MasterCard and Visa over swipe fees and last month, filed a lawsuit against Visa for $5 billion, accusing the network of excessively high card swipe fees. The retailer alleges Visa conspired with banks to illegally inflate fees, totaling more than $350 billion between 2004 and November 2012.

Sam's and Walmart's new alliance with MasterCard could foretell a cooling of tensions between the world's largest retailer and the second largest credit card processing company.

For more:
-See this Bloomberg story
-See this Sam's Club press release

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