Jun 13, 2016

    Walmart Canada won't take Visa over fee row


    WALMART Canada stores will stop accepting Visa cards because the credit-card provider charges merchants "unacceptably high" fees, the retailer said on Saturday.

    Walmart has been unable to agree with Visa on an "acceptable fee" and will no longer accept the credit cards starting on July 18, it said.

    The company added it still hoped to reach an agreement with Visa. The move will not affect the United States stores of parent Wal-Mart Stores.

    "Walmart made this business decision despite Visa offering one of the lowest rates available to any merchant in the country," a Visa spokesman said. "We are disappointed that Walmart chose to put their own financial interests ahead of their own consumers' choice."

    A Walmart Canada spokesman said the retailer pays more than C$100 million (S$106 million) in credit-card fees every year but specific transaction fees are part of "confidential agreements".

    Canadian retailers have complained about the high interchange fees they pay credit-card companies.

    In 2014, Visa and MasterCard said they would trim Canadian transaction rates to an average effective rate of 1.5 per cent, after complaints about their fees almost resulted in government intervention.

    Unlike American Express which charges a flat fee with every merchant, Visa and MasterCard have variable fees based on the status of their different cards.

    Small retailers, which usually have less power to negotiate transaction terms, have said that hurts them as they are never sure of the rate they will be billed - between 1 per cent and 3 per cent - on any given transaction.