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Foods Co to stop accepting Visa credit cards

Kroger Co. grocery chain says rates and fees are too high

Next month, The Kroger Co.’s Foods Co supermarkets plan to drop Visa credit cards as a form of payment.

The Los Angeles-based grocery chain said Monday that as of Aug. 14 it will no longer accept Visa credit cards. Visa debit cards, however, can still be used to pay for purchases.

Foods Co called Visa’s interchange rates and network fees “among the highest of any credit-card brand” and said the move to stop accepting the cards will enable the grocery retailer to pass along savings to customers as everyday low prices on key items.

Part of Kroger’s Foods 4 Less subsidiary, Foods Co. Foods Co. operates 21 stores and five fuel centers in central and northern California.

“Our customers consistently tell us that one of the most important factors in choosing Foods Co as their supermarket of choice is our low prices,” Foods Co President Bryan Kaltenbach said in a statement. “At Foods Co, we are committed to saving our customers money. Today’s decision will help Foods Co continue to deliver great value to our customers with low prices, fresh products and friendly service.”

Foods Co noted that its stores and fuel centers will continue to accept other forms of payment for grocery and gas purchases, including all debit cards; cash and checks; SNAP; and MasterCard, American Express and Discover credit cards.

“We realize this will be a change for some customers,” added Kaltenbach. “But we believe this change will benefit all our customers by allowing our Foods Co stores to continue to offer the things our customers value most — including our low prices, fresh produce and services — more than payment type.”

Visa credit card acceptance will be eliminated at six Foods Co stores in the San Francisco Bay area, four stores in the Sacramento Valley area, and seven Foods Co stores serving the Central Valley. The stores are located in Bakersfield, Fresno, Hanford, Lompoc, Oakland, Pittsburg, Richmond, Sacramento, Salinas, San Francisco, Santa Maria, Soledad and Tulare, Calif.

In a statement, a Visa spokesman said that “Visa is disappointed at Kroger’s decision to stop accepting Visa credit cards at its Foods Co. stores. When consumer choice is limited, nobody wins. Our goal is to protect the interests of our cardholders to ensure they can use their Visa credit cards wherever they shop. Visa remains committed to working with Kroger to reach a reasonable solution.”

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