Kroger enlarges its "swipe" against Visa credit cards

The swipe fees war is expanding:

Kroger extends Visa ban

We customers need today to be well armed with a variety of plastic . . .

or else it’ll be cash or check or go home empty handed!


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This is interesting. Hopefully people in those states vote with their feet against this move by Kroger and it doesn’t continue to expand. Kroger is my wife’s preferred grocery store. We often use a MasterCard there (Citi Doublecash), but I like being able to use Chase Freedom (VISA) when grocery stores are a 5% category, or when we are going for a signup bonus on a VISA card.


Just looking at the states Kroger is starting with, this appears to be a shot across the bow. It’d be surprising to me if they do this in states more consequential for kroger’s revenues.

The majority of major bank debit cards are Visa cards, so people that don’t have credit cards may not be able to just pick another card out of their wallet, so, to me, Kroger appears to have much lower bargaining power.

“…stores will still accept all debit cards, including Visa debit cards…”


I haven’t been able to use my Paypal debit (VISA) as credit for a few month now but I was still able to use regular VISA as credit.

We’re kind of stuck in this area with Kroger’s QFC and Fred Meyer. Safeway and Albertsons are terrible stores and places like Metropolitan Market and PCC are ridiculously expensive. Costco’s quantities are generally too much for my wife and I for weekly grocery shopping.

If they ban Visa, I’ll have to switch to using our Amex. I’m not exactly thrilled with some of the things that Kroger has been doing on the payment front (no NFC/Apple Pay, potentially no Visa acceptance) but their stores are simply better than the alternatives around here.

Calling this a “ban” makes me dismiss the whole thing as an over-dramatized stunt. They simply stopped accepting Visa. Plenty businesses dont accept Amex or Discover, or credit cards at all, and they arent referred to as being “banned” at those merchants. When you break up with your girlfriend, you arent said to have banned her from your life.

You only call it a ban to make it more dramatic and attract attention it otherwise wouldnt get.

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Agreed in terms of the use of the word “ban” but I don’t think it’s worthy of dismissing this completely. While many merchants do not accept Discover and Amex and it is something that for Discover and Amex cardholders is widely known and to always have a backup, it is almost unheard of for merchants to accept MC, Discover and/or Amex but not accept Visa. If this is a start of a shift, consumers are going to have to start paying more attention to what cards they carry. Just having a Visa wouldn’t cut it anymore and that would be a huge shift.


Pretty ballsy of Kroger, but I respect the move. Visa/MC have enormous leverage and it’s takes a company willing to take such a risk to ensure fair competition to benefit consumers in general (even if it hurts those of us who benefit from larger interchange fees in the form of CC points).


Maybe ballsy, but not suicidal. :slight_smile: These are probably just test markets. If their sales suffer less than the swipe fee difference between Visa and accepted cards, they will expand the ban. If their sales suffer more than the difference, the ban will fade away.

Although it won’t affect Kroger brand store nearby just now, I think it gives people one more reason to go shop elsewhere when there are alternative. I agree that I think they are testing the market especially considering this is Q2 where a very common VISA card offers 5% cashback at grocery stores… If they don’t see significantly less same-store year-over-year traffic now, they won’t likely see it in other quarters.

Personally, I find it hard to believe that it’s all gonna be worth the risk of losing customers. In midwest here, there are a lot of other supermarkets nearby which all accept every credit card type. Most are expanding payment methods to support contactless transactions. It feels weird for Kroger to mess around with the opposite strategy but maybe they know better.

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Another interesting consideration is that Kroger is large enough to offer their own credit card. I never considered it because it barely has any positives over Citi Double Cash let alone the Amex options. If they ever get competitive with their card, I would consider getting it because we really do shop there a lot.

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