Utah-based Smith’s Corp. to cease accepting Visa credit card payments effective April 3

A Smith's grocery store. File photo: Wikimedia Commons/Famartin

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah March 1, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — Smith’s supermarkets and fuel centers will no longer accept Visa credit card payments effective April 3, parent company Kroger announced on Friday.

The ban affects 142 supermarket and 108 fuel centers across seven states, the announcement said. That breaks down to 55 stores in Utah; 45 stores in Nevada; 23 stores in New Mexico; seven stores in Wyoming; and four stores each in IdahoMontana and Northern Arizona, the statement says. Smith’s corporate headquarters is in Salt Lake City.

The reason given for the change is retailer fees charged by Visa, which Kroger characterizes as excessive, adding that Visa charges the highest fees of any payment cards accepted at Smith’s.

The change does not affect Visa debit cards, which still will be accepted.

“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.”

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

“While no other Kroger banners are presently affected by this announcement, Kroger continues to explore options to reduce the cost of accepting credit cards in order to keep prices low for customers,” the statement says.

“Smith’s stores will continue to accept all other forms of payment, including major credit cards such as Mastercard, Discover, and American Express; cash and checks; electronic benefit transfer cards from SNAP and WIC programs; and MasterCard and Visa debit cards both with and without PIN and health savings account cards.”

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