Supermarket chain Kroger has started taking Visa credit cards again at all of its stores, according to reports.
The company had previously banned the payment method at its Foods Co. and Smith’s Food and Drug stores, saying that Visa’s transaction fees were excessive and that they “drive up food prices for all customers.”
Kroger did not give a reason for the reverse in decision.
In April, Kroger stopped accepting Visa credit cards at Smith’s, which has about 130 locations throughout seven states. The company stopped accepting Visa cards at Foods Co. even earlier.
“Visa has been misusing its position and charging retailers excessive fees for a long time,” Kroger CFO Mike Schlotman said at the time. “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, unhappy with the ban, retorted, “It is unfair and disappointing that Kroger is putting shoppers in the middle of a business dispute.”
CNBC reported that the two retailers are the latest high-profile companies to make the decision, and that they will still sell regular cigarettes. Walmart said in September that it would stop selling eCigarettes not only in its stores, but at Sam’s Club as well, also citing “regulatory complexity.”
The electronic nicotine devices have grown very popular in the last few years, especially with teenagers, and lately have been getting more negative attention. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that as of Oct. 22 there have been 34 deaths and around 1,600 cases of sickness through 49 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands tied to a “vaping illness.” In most of the cases, patients said they were vaping THC, the active ingredient in marijuana; about 17 percent said they only used nicotine. Many people who are opposed to the products say they are meant to attract teenagers because of the fruity flavors offered by companies like Juul.
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