Kroger Grocery Stores to Stop Accepting Visa Credit Cards at Foods Co. Supermarkets in California — May Expand the Ban to Mariano’s

KROGER VS VISA: DISAGREEMENT OVER VISA SWIPING FEES
The biggest supermarket chain in the U.S. is threatening to bar the use of Visa cards in a dispute over the “swipe” fees it pays to handle customers’ credit and debit card transactions.

Kroger is already implementing a ban on Visa cards at its Foods Co. Supermarkets unit in California, which will stop accepting Visa cards at 21 stores and five fuel centers starting September 2018. Executive Vice President and CIO Chris Hjelm has revealed that Kroger may expand the Visa band in other units.

When the amount retailers pay in card fees “gets out of alignment, as we believe it is now, we don’t believe we have a choice but to use whatever mechanism possible to get it back in alignment.”

— Chris Hjelm, Kroger CIO

The 21 affected California stores are located in San Francisco, Sacramento, Fresno and Bakersfield.

While there are warning signs of a rocky road for Visa, the credit card network as has spiked 20 percent this year, and Mastercard has spiked 31 percent as the world is replacing cash with electronic payments. The S&P 500 Information Technology Index rose 12 percent by comparison.

Visa’s reply to Kroger’s action emphasized that their goal is to protect the interests of cardholders to ensure they can use their Visa credit cards wherever they shop. A Visa spokesperson said Visa remains committed to working with Kroger to reach a reasonable solution.

Kroger could ban Visa credit cards nationwide (What’s with the WLWT reporter’s little tantrum with the shopping cart?)

WLWT Channel 5 serves Cincinnati, the location of headquarters for Kroger.

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