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Kroger drops Visa at some divisions, explores options for other stores

Some Kroger store brands in other states will stop accepting Visa, and while the grocery store chain still takes Visa locally, it “continues to explore options” to reduce the cost of credit card use.

Cincinnati-based Kroger said Friday morning that starting April 3, its Smith’s Food & Drug Stores division will stop accepting Visa credit cards.

Visa pre-paid cards and debit cards are still accepted, said Visa.

Visa stated that it was “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,” the company said.

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Visa’s fees are the highest of any credit cards accepted in Smith’s and exceed grocery store margins, according to Kroger.

“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. “

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

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