Bloomberg and The Denver Post recently reported an interesting credit card ban.
Apparently Kroger, the largest U.S. supermarket chain, recently announced its Foods Co. Supermarkets unit in California will stop accepting Visa cards at 21 stores and five fuel centers this month. The initiative is an effort to avoid credit card processing fees, which reportedly total up to $90 billion paid by retailers annually.
The report stated that merchants have been looking for ways to minimize processing fees for some time, including lobbying lawmakers for lower rates and through technology upgrades that avoid traditional card payments entirely. This ban is another effort to those ends.
Kroger’s announcement is not wholly unique. Walmart recently decided to cut ties with Synchrony Financial, and Amazon’s foray into financial services has been seen as a way the retailer could save $250 million.
According to Bloomberg and The Denver Post, Kroger spokesperson Chris Hjelm said actual Kroger stores may follow the ban-path they’re in the process of testing via Foods Co.
“It’s pretty clear we need to move down this path, and if we have to expand that beyond Foods Co., we’re prepared to take that step,” Hjelm said. When the amount retailers pay in card fees “gets out of alignment, as we believe it is now, we don’t believe we have a choice but to use whatever mechanism possible to get it back in alignment.”
When considering the long game, this ban could have an interesting impact on credit card processing in adult entertainment.
Mainstream retailers’ bans could eventually snap consumers out of the mindset of credit-card-payments-only. It could also help certain consumer age demographics become more familiar with alternative forms of modern payment. This is not about a return to cash or checks so much as it is about opening up the possibility of additional alternatives to cash, check or conventional credit cards.
In time, all of these trends would — perhaps — also serve to loosen credit card processors’ holds on adult industry business.
Image via Dave di Biase.