OPERATIONS

Another Kroger unit to stop accepting Visa Cards

BY Marianne Wilson

The Kroger Co. is calling out Visa again for its “excessive” transaction fees.

The supermarket giant said that its Smith’s Food & Drug Stores division will stop accepting Visa credit cards as a form of payment, beginning April 3, 2019. Visa’s fees are the highest of any credit cards accepted in Smith’s and exceed grocery store margins in the highly competitive food retail industry, according to Kroger, and drive up food prices for all customers.

Smith’s will be the second Kroger banner to no longer accept Visa credit cards. It follows Foods Co. Supermarkets in California, which stopped accepting the cards in August 2018.

“Visa has been misusing its position and charging retailers excessive fees for a long time,” said Mike Schlotman, Kroger’s executive VP and CFO. “They conceal from customers what Visa and its banks charge retailers to accept Visa credit cards. At Smith’s, Visa’s credit card fees are higher than any other credit card brand that we accept. Visa’s excessive fees and unfairness cannot continue to go unchecked. ”

The move will affect Smith’s 142 supermarket and 108 fuel center locations, which are spread across seven states, with the bulk in Utah and Nevada.

No other Kroger banners are presently affected by this announcement. But the company said it will continue to explore options to reduce the cost of accepting credit cards in order to keep prices low for customers.

Smith’s will continue to accept all other forms of payment, including major credit cards such as Mastercard, Discover, and American Express; cash and checks; electronic benefit transfer cards from SNAP and WIC programs; and MasterCard and Visa debit cards both with and without PIN and health savings account cards.

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