Kroger has extended its boycott of Visa credit cards to hundreds of stores across seven states in the US as it accuses the company of “misusing its position”.
The American grocery giant has banned the use of Visa credit cards across its entire 142-store Smith’s Food & Drug Store estate as of March 3.
This marks the second fascia under the Kroger umbrella to ban Visa credit cards, after its Californian Foods Co. Supermarkets arm stopped accepting them in August.
“Visa has been misusing its position and charging retailers excessive fees for a long time,” Kroger’s executive vice president Mike Schlotman said.
“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’s excessive fees and unfairness cannot continue to go unchecked. That’s why, starting April 3, Smith’s will accept all forms of payment except Visa credit cards.”
Though no other Kroger banners are currently affected, the retailer said it will continue to explore ways to reduce the cost of accepting credit cards.
Visa debit cards and all other major cards including Mastercard and American Express will continue to be accepted.
In response to the ban a Visa spokesperson said: “Cardholders are our first priority. Our goal is to ensure that every cardholder can use their Visa card wherever they wish to shop. When consumer choice is limited nobody wins.
“The Visa network delivers significant value for merchants including access to more customers, increased sales, security and fraud protection, a quick and convenient checkout experience, and ongoing innovation and implementation of the latest technologies. Kroger enjoys all of these benefits, and there is a cost for these services, like any other.
“It is unfair and disappointing that Kroger is putting shoppers in the middle of a business dispute. We have put forward a number of solutions to allow our cardholders to continue using their preferred Visa credit cards at Foods Co. and Smith’s without Kroger-imposed restrictions, and we continue to work toward a resolution. Visa debit and prepaid cards continue to be accepted across all Kroger stores, including Foods Co. and Smith’s.”