SALT LAKE CITY — Wednesday is the first day Smith’s Food & Drug stores will no longer accept Visa credit cards due to a dispute over transaction fees.
Smith’s will still accept Visa debit cards (with and without PIN), Mastercard, Discover, American Express, cash, checks, electronic benefit transfer cards from SNAP and WIC programs, Mastercard debit cards (with and without PIN) and health savings account cards. FOX 13 has reached out to Kroger to learn whether or not Smith’s will accept health savings account cards issued by Visa.
Smith’s, a banner brand of The Kroger Co., operates 55 stores in Utah, 45 in Nevada, 23 in New Mexico, seven in Wyoming, four in Idaho, four in Montana and four in northern Arizona.
Foods Co. Supermarkets, another Kroger banner operating in California, stopped accepting Visa credit cards in August of 2018. The ban on Visa credit cards currently only affects Foods Co. Supermarkets and Smith’s Food & Drug.
Read statements from the two companies:
“Visa has been misusing its position and charging retailers excessive fees for a long time,” said Mike Schlotman, Kroger’s executive vice president and CFO. “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.”
“Cardholders are Visa’s 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.”