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Smith’s will no longer accept Visa credit cards

Business

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Photo courtesy Smith’s Food & Drug

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to include a statement from Visa.

IDAHO FALLS — Smith’s Food & Drug Stores announced Friday it will stop accepting Visa credit cards beginning next month.

In a news release, the grocery chain said excessive fees that Visa and its issuing banks charge are forcing retailers to raise prices. The company says Visa’s fees are the highest of any credit card accepted in Smith’s.

“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. Visa’s excessive fees and unfairness cannot continue to go unchecked.”

The change goes into effect April 3. Smith’s will continue to accept Visa debit cards, along with Mastercard, Discover, and American Express.

In a statement about the change, a spokesman for Visa said when consumer choice is limited, nobody wins.

“The Visa network delivers significant value for merchants,” spokesman Will Stickney said. “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 without Kroger-imposed restrictions, and we continue to work toward a resolution.”

Smith’s is a division of The Kroger Co. and is the second store in the company, behind Foods Co. Supermarkets in California, to stop accepting Visa credit cards. Fred Meyer is also owned by Kroger and will continue to accept the cards.

Smith’s operates 4 stores in Idaho, Montana and Arizona; along with 55 stores in Utah, 45 stores in Nevada, 23 stores in New Mexico, and 7 stores in Wyoming.

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