Walmart To Ban Visa Cards From 16 Stores In Manitoba Next Month

Walmart’s fight with Visa in Canada is getting a little uglier, with The Wall Street Journal reporting that Walmart will stop accepting cards from Visa in 16 stores in the Canadian providence of Manitoba later next month.

According to the report, the move will happen on Oct. 24 and is the latest escalation of a fight that started in the summer. In July, Walmart said it would stop accepting Visa credit cards at its three stores in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and said then it would do the same with all of its stores across Canada, due to a disagreement about Visa’s fees. The controversy first became headline fodder when Walmart announced that it had been unable to come to an agreement with Visa on an “acceptable” fee. At the time, it threatened to oust Visa unless it could get a “better deal.” Without a deal in hand, Walmart followed through on its threat.

“We are committed to continuing discussions, and we are still hopeful we can reach an agreement with Visa,” said Randy Hargrove, a Walmart spokesman, in the report. Visa said that Walmart’s move was “disappointing” and that it “remains committed to actively working with Walmart so that Canadians can use their Visa cards wherever they wish to shop.”

According to the report, signs notifying customers of the decision will start going up on Thursday (Sept. 15). Visa has 50.6 million cards in circulation in Canada, making it the largest payments network. The company has $232.59 billion worth of transactions using its cards last year.

Walmart had first rolled out the boycott of Visa cards in Thunder Bay because it is smaller and not as populated. A Walmart spokesman told the paper that sales in Thunder Bay have been better than expected following the Visa ban. The spokesman said customers have adjusted their payment methods as a result. Surveys conducted on this issue in Canada suggest that consumers are sympathetic with Walmart but believe that they would fail to see any savings passed directly to them if interchange rates were reduced. Survey results also suggested that consumers would be more inclined to shop elsewhere if their Visa cards could not be used at Walmart stores.