Kroger may charge credit card users more

Don't Waste Your Money

Do you like to charge your weekly grocery purchase on a credit card for the convenience, cash back or reward points?

It could soon cost you more to do that if Kroger is your go-to grocery store.

Kroger, the nation's largest grocery chain, told The New York Times that it is considering charging Visa and MasterCard users more to use their plastic to buy groceries.

A Kroger spokesman, Keith Dailey, confirms to WCPO-TV that the chain is looking into this, but says it would not happen until early next year.  He also said customers should look at it as a "discount" for cash or debit card customers, not a surcharge.

Allowed Under New Settlement

This could be the first major change after the recent settlement between Visa and MasterCard with retailers.  Under the agreement, stores would be allowed to pass along "swipe fees" to consumers for the first time.

Kroger says it is exploring the possibility of giving cash users a discount at the register, or posting two prices for everything: one being the cash price, the other the credit card price.

The store has not yet said if it would also charge this higher price to debit card users as well, though it does not appear likely, as debit cards are not part of the settlement. Also, the company has not yet said if stores would charge the higher price for American Express and Discover cards, as they were not part of the settlement.

Some Say No Way

Darden Restaurants, parent company of Red Lobster and The Olive Garden, has publicly stated it will not charge credit card customers more, as most of its customers pay by credit, and it does not want to chase them away.

Merchants will now be allowed to charge credit card customers 2 percent more, which is the "swipe fee" that is typically picked up by business owners. Some small online retailers are already starting to enact this, according to the Times.

If enacted at Kroger, this means a $100 grocery purchase would cost $2- $3 more if you use a credit card.

To read the full New York Times article, go to http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/14/business/mastercard-and-visa-settle-antitrust-suit.html .

As always, don't waste your money.

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