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Smith’s grocery stores will no longer accept Visa credit cards

Posted at 9:42 AM, Mar 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-02 02:28:40-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Smith’s Food and Drug stores will stop accepting Visa credit cards as a form of payment beginning April 3 but will continue to take Visa debit cards.

There are 45 Smith's stores in Nevada that will be impacted by the change.

The company blames Visa's excessive interchange and network fees, saying they are the highest of any credit cards accepted by the grocery chain and is driving up food prices for all customers.

“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.

The grocery chain will continue to accept major credit cards, cash and checks, electronic benefit transfer cards from SNAP and WIC programs.

“Grocery is a competitive business, and our ability to keep prices low for our customers depends on controlling costs,” said Kenny Kimball, president of Smith’s. “To help our customers through this transition, we have great offers inside our stores today, including double rewards points towards fuel purchases and other promotions to save on their groceries.”

A Visa spokesperson responded to 13 Action News on Friday and released the following statement:

“It is unfair and disappointing that Kroger is putting shoppers in the middle of a business dispute. We have put forward many 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."

Smith’s is the second Kroger banner to decline acceptance of Visa credit cards. It follows Foods Co. Supermarkets in California, which stopped accepting Visa credit cards in August 2018.