Walmart took a shot at Visa last weekend by announcing it would no longer accept Visa cards in its more than 400 stores across Canada. A statement issued by the retail giant blamed Visa for charging unfair fees on credit card transactions – which Walmart claims are four times higher than what consumers pay in other countries.

“We believe Visa’s fees should be lower for everyone, whether they are a large retailer, small retailer or a charity,” said Walmart Canada spokesperson Alex Roberton. “We are taking a stand for our customers because Visa’s high fees can result in increased prices.”

Walmart Visa battle
Small businesses joined in and supported Walmart’s decision to take a stand against high fees that affect all retailers and hurt their bottom line.

Now Visa is set to fire back by taking out full-page newspaper ads next week to set the record straight about its battle with Walmart:

“Recently, we offered Walmart one of the lowest rates of any merchant in Canada. But Walmart is still demanding more. They believe that their cost to accept Visa cards should be much lower than all other merchants — lower than local grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores — and yes, charities and schools too,” according to Visa.

How do you choose sides in a fight between two of the most hated businesses in the world? I have a hard time believing that Walmart is sticking up for its customers as well as retailers across the country. Walmart answers to its shareholders and is known for aggressive negotiating tactics with its partners and suppliers.

Meanwhile Visa (along with MasterCard and American Express) is guilty of charging excessively high merchant fees that can be burdensome for small businesses as they try and compete with the likes of Walmart.

Perhaps the two industry giants can end their public spat and reach an agreement in the 11th-hour. It’s unlikely, though, that Walmart passes any savings from lower fees down to its customers, and it’s equally unlikely that Visa gives its small and mid-sized retail partners the same sweet deal they’re offering Walmart.

This Week’s Recap:

On Monday I published our anti-Mustachian family spending report, taking a light jab at the famous Colorado family that lives on less than $25,000 a year.

On Wednesday Marie listed seven careless ways to lose money. Number two on the list is my Achilles heel.

And on Friday I wrote about the PC Financial MasterCard and World Elite MasterCard edition – get 50,000 PC Points just for signing up!

A Wealth of Common Sense:

Some great stuff this past week from A Wealth of Common Sense blogger and institutional portfolio manager Ben Carlson.

First up is a look at the behaviour of experts:

“As a society we probably have a problem with hero worship as we place way too much faith in experts and celebrities.”

Next he revisits the bear market of 1998 when emerging markets dropped 56% after a financial crisis rocked southeast Asia.

Finally, Carlson shares 10 things he believes about investing. My favourite:

“I believe simple beats complex, but simple is much harder to implement because complex will always sound more intelligent and feel more comfortable to buy into.”

Weekend Reading:

Anthony Molinaro works an 80-hour week — half as a full-time student and the other half at full-time job. Here’s how he does it.

A Financial Post profile featured a family of four who received $250,000 from the sale of a business and want to make the most of their windfall.

You’ll be shocked by how much commission life insurance salespeople make on Universal and Whole Life policies – nearly eight times more than a basic term policy.

Nelson Smith at Financial Uproar gives us an in-depth behind the scenes look at a private mortgage deal.

Michael James argues that many people have built a tolerance for debt instead of treating it like an emergency that should be paid off quickly.

Sketch Guy Carl Richards looks at the dual roles of money in our lives.

Sometimes everyday citizens capture compelling video footage that quickly goes viral. CBC takes an interesting look at the rush to make money from amateur viral videos.

Des Odjick offers a solution to budget for irregular or non-recurring expenses.

Wealthsimple published another how-to guide with a look at how to budget for your wedding.

For 20 years, Motley Fool contributor Morgan Housel was dead-set against home ownership. But now with an eight-month-old son the dynamics have changed and he wants to settle down. Here’s what he learned buying a house.

Planning a summer escape? Melissa Leong shares 23 ways to get away as a family without breaking the bank.

Alex Karpovsky, star of HBO’s Girls, tells Wealthsimple why going to a loan shark was a good financial move.

Pre-paid credit cards are a rip-off and here the CBC explains why.

Finally, it’s spring and that means Canada’s major banks are once again hiking fees.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


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