The high-profile standoff between Walmart Canada and Visa Canada that saw the world’s largest retailer refuse to accept the popular credit card at a number of Canadian stores came to an abrupt end on Thursday.
Both companies have confirmed that shoppers at 16 Manitoba stores, as well as three in Thunder Bay, Ont., will be able to resume Visa-based purchases starting Friday.
Walmart Canada has complained that service fees to accept credit cards topped $100 million annually, calling the charges from Visa “unacceptably high.”
The company phased-out Visa cards at the three Thunder Bay, Ont. stores last July, followed by 16 in Manitoba in October. Walmart Canada had threatened to expand the ban to its more than 400 stores nationwide unless Visa agreed to lower the amount it charges for credit card transactions.
Neither company has confirmed any changes to the service fees.
Visa Canada had previously said it offered Walmart Canada one of the lowest transaction processing rates of any merchant in Canada.
“Walmart is still demanding more. They believe that their cost to accept Visa cards should be much lower than all other merchants -- lower than local grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores -- and yes, charities and schools too,” said the company in an open letter to Canadian merchants last June. “They are using their size and scale to give themselves an unfair advantage.”
Visa fired back against Walmart during the dispute by offering Manitoba cardholders a $10 credit on $50 grocery purchases. Thunder Bay, Ont. cardholders were awarded a $25 credit for every grocery buy of $75 or more.
“We have come to an agreement with Visa which allows us to continuing offering Visa as a form of payment in our stores,” said Walmart Canada’s senior director of corporate affairs Alex Roberton in an emailed statement to CTV News.
Visa Canada’s corporate and public affairs spokesperson Carla Hindman echoed Roberton’s message, saying “Visa cardholders can once again use their Visa credit cards as a form of payment in all Walmart stores across Canada.”