W-M Says No To Signing on the Dotted Line

Dec 03, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

A report in the Wall Street Journal says Wal-Mart will announce today that it will stop accepting MasterCard debit cards when consumers sign for the transaction rather
than using a personal identification number (PIN).

Wal-Mart is reportedly taking this action because it objects to the higher transaction fees charged by MasterCard to process debit card purchases that are signed for the shopper
compared to those where the customer enters a personal identification number (PIN).

The ban is expected to go into effect on Feb. 1, 2004.

The world’s largest retailer will continue to accept Visa debit card purchases with a PIN or signed for by the customer. The two parties have reportedly agreed on a lower fee
for debit card transactions, which has yet to go into effect.

Moderator’s Comment: What is your reaction to Wal-Mart’s stance on this particular issue and also on the general question of fees charged by the credit
card companies?

A prepared statement from MasterCard that appeared in the Journal accused Wal-Mart of “putting its hand into its customers’ wallets and telling them which
form of payment they must use. … It is surprising in today’s environment for any merchant to make a conscious decision that will result in dissatisfied customers and lost sales.”

We find it equally surprising that MasterCard has yet to work out an agreement with Wal-Mart on this issue. If the ban goes into effect, MasterCard will
lose, Visa will win and Wal-Mart won’t notice the difference.
Anderson – Moderator

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