In a battle between multi-billion-dollar giants that will draw sympathy from no one, Walmart has thrown the first punch.
The chain of unsightly grey boxes announced today that it will stop accepting Visa as a method of payment at three of its locations in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Equally shocking is the fact that the city of just over 100,000 residents can sustain three such retail hangars.
Walmart has been threatening to ban Visa at all 400 of its Canadian locations for months.
The next wave of stores to be targeted by the Visa ban is still undetermined.
Walmart is being a big baby about Visa’s merchant fees, and wants them to be lower than those paid by grocery stores, pharmacies and convenience stores. Visa has responded by saying Walmart is using its customers as pawns in the negotiation, a claim supported by many Walmart shoppers.
A recent poll saw two-thirds of respondents believe any savings from a cut in Visa fees would line Walmart’s pockets, and the retailer would not pass them along to customers.
Low-income customers who rely on purchasing their goods on credit will be most impacted by Walmart’s move; in unrelated news, Walmart outperformed financial forecasts and posted $150 billion in revenue during Q1.