Starting Aug. 14, the United State’s largest supermarket chain, Kroger, will no longer accept Visa credit cards at select stores. Kroger says they are enforcing the ban to save on the high costs associated with Visa’s interchange rates and network fees. From a cryptocurrency adoption perspective, this news is a step in the right direction. A direction of instant, low fee, borderless transactions.
A Kroger spokesman also says it could expand the ban to more stores. “We’re prepared to take that step,” Chris Hjelm, a company spokesman, told Bloomberg.
Merchants like Kroger firmly believe that swipe fees, ranging anywhere from a dizzying 1 to 3 percent, are much too high. The incentive to accept Visa credit cards simply does not outweigh the margin mutilating fees that accompany them.
Additionally, Kroger says the move will save customers from higher prices. Kimberly Palmer, NerdWallet.com’s credit card expert, said: “retailers argue that the (swipe fees) raise the prices of their items because the cost gets passed on to consumers or the retailers have to eat the cost themselves”.
Matt Schulz, the chief industry analyst at CompareCards.com, told USA Today “(It is) basically a power move to try and force Visa to knock those fees down. The battle over swipe fees has been brewing for some time and this move by Kroger shows that it is about to escalate.”
Kroger’s move follows Walmart’s decision last week to end its card agreement with Synchrony Financial after failing to come to an agreement over terms.
According to an estimation from Bloomberg, retailers pay a despicable $90 billion in swipe fees annually (around $253 million a day) and Kroger claims that Visa’s rates and fees are among the steepest. Cryptocurrencies provide a practical solution and, in good time, will render enormous payment service providers, like Visa, obsolete. Blockchain-based payment solutions allow for value, however large or small, to be transferred without the interference of a trusted third party, like Visa. Therefore, the fees associated with third-party providers are practically eliminated, saving billions for retailers and consumers alike.
It should be noted that many cryptocurrencies do charge very small mining fees; however, the latest wave of projects, like Nano and others, provide instant, decentralized, scalable, and free payment solutions. Kroger’s Visa ban has placed a spotlight on the superfluous fees that accompany traditional payment solutions and has unknowingly placed an equally bright spotlight on cryptocurrencies as the solution.