Visa Walmart deal could mean higher fees for smaller merchants: CFIB

TORONTO _ The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says it is concerned that a deal struck between Walmart Canada and Visa over merchant fees could lead to higher costs for smaller businesses.

Details of the agreement, which ended a months-long dispute between the two corporate behemoths, have not been provided by the companies.

But CFIB president Dan Kelly says he suspects Walmart was able to negotiate a reduction in merchant fees.

Kelly says typically a good deal for one big company can mean bad news for small businesses, as Visa and the banks could look to make up the difference by raising the merchant fees charged to other companies.

He says he will be keeping a close eye on the situation and will continue to lobby both Visa and MasterCard for lower merchant fees for small- and medium-sized companies.

The federation represents over 109,000 business owners across the country.

In July, Walmart began refusing Visa credit cards at its three stores in Thunder Bay, Ont., citing excessive fees. In October, it extended that ban to Manitoba, where it has 16 stores.

As of Friday, Walmart resumed accepting Visa at those stores.

Visa spokeswoman Carla Hindman said the company’s agreement with Walmart is specific to that retailer and doesn’t affect other merchants.

“As previously announced, we have implemented rate changes aimed at lowering costs for businesses in Canada several times,” Hindman said in an email.