My Grocery Store Stopped Accepting Visa, But Has Now Backtracked: Visa Won the Battle, But Who Will Win the War

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Visa Accepted At Smith's Once Again

Visa Accepted At Smith’s Once Again

We are heading into the holiday season which means gift card deals galore! One of the places that has gift card promos from time to time is Kroger. In my area though Kroger is called Smith’s and they did something very very sad (and almost criminal) earlier this year. They stopped accepting Visa credit cards for payment. 

So while all of you were off at your local Kroger, Ralph’s, King Soopers, Fry’s or Fred Meyer getting 4X fuel points or the latest score using a Visa card to pay, I was stuck to using non-Visa cards to accomplish my tasks. And that sucks, because I got one of the best grocery bonus cards out there the CNB Crystal Visa Infinite

Smith’s Embraces Visa? 

So the news has been bad, but things are looking up. Kroger has announced that their fruitless battle against interchange fees at Smith’s has failed. Okay, they didn’t admit that but they have announced that Smith’s will once again be accepting Visa credit cards for payment. JUST IN TIME for the holidays!

Battle Against Fees

At the time of their initial move back in April, Kroger CFO Mike Schlotman said, “They conceal from customers what Visa and its banks charge retailers to accept Visa credit cards. At Smith’s, Visa’s credit card fees are higher than any other credit card brand that we accept.”

It is clear that Kroger was attempting to take a shot at Visa by pulling only the Smith’s brand, but apparently it hasn’t worked. I can’t tell you how many times I have attempted to use a Visa card at Smith’s because I forgot about the ban. I have seen countless others do the same. It is a huge inconvenience for customers and it appears on the surface Visa won this game of chicken.

Bottom Line

In this week’s MtM podcast (Episode 12 coming out 10/31/19) we discuss the possibility of interchange fees going down or away completely and how that will change things in the miles/points space. While that fate is probably somewhat inevitable, for now Visa seems to have fought off Kroger and won the battle. Now bring on the deals! I’m saving for a Disney cruise. 

Shawn Coomer
Since 2007 Shawn Coomer has been circling the globe with his family for pennies on the dollar. He uses that first-hand knowledge and experience to teach others how to achieve their travel dreams for the least amount of money possible.

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  1. How do you know Visa won the battle? Isn’t it possible Visa caved to Kroger’s demands and is now giving Kroger lower fees across all Kroger owned stores?

  2. Disney cruises are the best! I was dreading it, but then I went on one with the family and had the best time ever!! We still talk about it

  3. Great! Now I can buy gas there again, but I’d sooner starve than shop at Smith’s.

    They employ surly sloths who don’t know where anything is, the aisles are stocked with processed junk, their pricing schemes are annoying, they’re actually more expensive than Whole Foods (where I get 5% back with Amazon Prime), and while Trader Joe’s sells one good ketchup, for example, Kroger / Smith’s stocks at least a dozen. Who needs it?

  4. Disney Cruise! Would love a post on your strategy for this! Discounted gift cards + onboard credit from Costco travel? Half a million Citi TY points? Other? Also, would appreciate a similar post for taking the sting out of Aulani incidental charges (luau, character meals, Moana makeover, etc.) for a trip next year (courtesy of the recent Delta Vacations promo). Discounted gift cards again? Bonus from an “eraser” card? Other?


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