Business

Walmart to stop accepting Visa in Thunder Bay, Ont., stores starting Monday

Thunder Bay, Ont., will be the first market to experience Walmart's rejection of Visa cards beginning on July 18, part of the U.S.-based retail giant's plan to stop accepting the card Canada-wide due to what it calls "unacceptably high" fees.

U.S.-based retail giant says it plans to extend policy Canada-wide in phases

Walmart plans to no longer accept Visa cards at its more than 400 locations in Canada, citing 'unacceptably high' fees. (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

Thunder Bay, Ont., will be the first market to experience Walmart's rejection of Visa cards beginning on July 18, part of the U.S.-based retail giant's plan to stop accepting the card Canada-wide due to what it calls "unacceptably high" fees.

Walmart Canada announced the plan to stop accepting Visa on June 11. A representative from Walmart said Thunder Bay was first on the list because stores in the northern Ontario city have the infrastructure to easily make the change.

CBC News contacted Walmart about the upcoming deadline, and a spokesman confirmed the plan will go ahead.

"We are moving ahead as planned regarding our decision to stop accepting Visa at our three Thunder Bay stores on Monday, July 18," said Alex Roberton, senior director, corporate affairs, at Walmart Canada.

"We will then roll out the change in phases across Canada," he added.

Walmart has more than 400 locations in Canada, and more than 11,500 worldwide, according to the company's global website.

On its website, Walmart tells cyber-shoppers that Visa is accepted and there is no warning of an impending change.

Walmart isn't the only retailer frustrated by credit card fees. It's a big issue for small business, too 3:45

All credit cards charge fees to retailers, which generally are between one per cent and 2.5 per cent of the cost of what's being sold. The fees vary depending on the type of card the customer is using — cash-back and premium cards generally have higher fees — and the type of retailer they're shopping at.

Documents on Visa Canada's website show that for standard retail purchases made in-store, fees range from 1.42 to 2.08 per cent. Meanwhile, MasterCard's website shows that for standard purchases at independent retailers, its fees range from 1.44 to 2 per cent.

A representative from Visa Canada said in a written statement that the company "regrets" Walmart's decision, and that it will have a "negative impact" on Walmart's shoppers.

Rob Livingston, president and country manager of Visa Canada, told CBC News the company is "going to work to find a potentially reasonable solution with Walmart."

Rob Livingston of Visa Canada on the company's rebuttal to Walmart Canada in spat over credit card fees 3:11

With files from The Canadian Press

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