(Adds Wal-Mart Canada spokesman’s name)
Sept 15 (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc’s Canadian unit will stop accepting Visa Inc cards at 16 stores in the province of Manitoba starting Oct. 24, a company spokesman said on Wednesday, raising the stakes in a high-profile fee dispute in the country.
Manitoba was “most ready” for the move on Visa cards, Wal-Mart spokesman Alex Roberton said, without giving any details on why the province was chosen.
Wal-Mart Canada stopped accepting Visa cards in three Thunder Bay, Ontario stores in July and said the step would be mirrored across the country.
The retailer, which has over 400 stores in Canada, added that the decision will not affect Wal-Mart stores outside the country.
In a rare example of talks between a major retailer and credit card company spilling out in public, Wal-Mart said in June it had been unable to agree with Visa on an “acceptable fee” and would no longer accept the company’s credit cards unless it got a better deal.
Visa cards may be banned in more stores if the companies cannot reach an agreement, Wal-Mart spokesman Roberton said, though he did not specify which ones.
“We’re committed to continuing negotiations with Visa, and we are still hopeful of reaching an agreement.”
Visa spokeswoman Connie Kim said Walmart’s decision to limit Visa acceptance in Manitoba was “disappointing.”
“We know from our experience in Thunder Bay that consumers want the option to use the payment method of their choice when shopping - including at Walmart stores,” she added. (Reporting by Ismail Shakil and Sudarshan Varadhan in Bengaluru and Ethan Lou in Toronto; Editing by Sunil Nair and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)