March 1 (Reuters) - U.S. supermarket chain Kroger Co on Friday said its Smith’s Food and Drug Stores division will stop accepting Visa Inc’s credit cards, starting April 3, because of excessive transaction fees.
Kroger had stopped accepting Visa’s credit cards at its Foods Co stores in California in August last year, because of a price dispute over interchange rates and network fees.
"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," Kroger's Chief Financial Officer Mike Schlotman said reut.rs/2NzW0oi.
The company added it is going to continue to explore other options to reduce the cost of accepting credit cards and keep prices low for customers.
Smith’s operates over 130 stores across the U.S.
The dispute between Kroger and Visa is the latest between payments processors and merchants over transaction fees. Card companies have said in the past that expenses for ramping up anti-fraud/anti-theft security measures to make payment processing safer have resulted in a fee hike.
Mastercard and Visa have another round of fee hikes, slated for April, which will be levied on merchant banks, not on the merchants directly, although the banks could pass on the fee hike to sellers, if they want to avoid absorbing it themselves.
Visa was not immediately available for a comment outside working hours.
Smith’s stores will continue to accept all other forms of payment, including major credit cards, and health savings account cards. (Reporting By Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)