Walmart-Visa Dispute Ramps Up With Manitoba In Crossfire

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TORONTO — The dispute between Walmart Canada and Visa over merchant fees heats up today as the retail giant stops accepting the credit card at its 16 stores in Manitoba.

Walmart first refused Visa credit cards at its three stores in Thunder Bay, Ont., in mid-July, arguing that the financial services firm charges high fees to merchants.

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Walmart Canada will stop accepting Visa cards in Manitoba stores as of Monday. (Photo: The Canadian Press)

Alex Roberton, a spokesman for Walmart, says the company pays more than $100 million a year in credit card fees and is focused on reducing Visa transaction costs.

Roberton says the impact of its policy on customers in Thunder Bay has been minimal, adding that the stores have seen an increase in cash and debit payments.

Walmart announced in June that it would expand its phase-out of Visa at all of its Canadian stores — more than 400 — though Roberton says it hasn't determined which stores will be next in line.

visa cards
Visa is "disappointed" with Walmart's move, a spokesperson says. (Photo: Maxim Zmeyev/Reuters)

Visa spokeswoman Carla Hindman says Walmart's action to further limit Visa acceptance in Canada is "disappointing.''

Visa has said it offered Walmart one of the lowest rates for any merchant in the country, but Walmart wanted fees that would have been lower than those charged to local grocery markets, pharmacies, convenience stores, charities and schools.

Despite the dispute, both companies say they are committed to working out a solution.

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