Walmart follows through with Visa ban

Walmart (NYSE:WMT) has stopped accepting Visa credit cards at three stores in Canada, making good on an earlier threat as the battle between card issuers and retailers rages on.

In June, Walmart filed a lawsuit against Visa, suing for the right to choose how it processes credit card payments.

Also in June, Walmart said it would decline Visa cards in Canada. "Following an evaluation of credit card transaction fees in Canada and the rest of the world, we have concluded the fees applied to Visa credit card purchases remain unacceptably high," the company said in a statement. "As a result we will no longer accept Visa in our stores across Canada, starting with our stores in Thunder Bay, on July 18, 2016."

That deadline was apparently firm, and the company is no longer accepting payments via Visa cards at the three stores in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Walmart intends to expand the initiative to other parts of Canada, but declined to give a timeline.

Customer reactions are mixed, according to reports. Spokesman Alex Roberton told The Wall Street Journal that Walmart is "taking a stand for our customers because Visa's high fees can result in increased prices." Fewer than 10 customers out of thousands in the affected stores didn't have the right form of payment, he added.

This is the latest in an escalating fight between retailers and credit card companies over so-called swipe fees, the percentage paid by retailer for processing per transaction. Walmart's stance is also the most aggressive.

For more:
- see this Wall Street Journal story (tiered subscription)
- see this Bloomberg report

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