Slideshow In Pictures: Walmart and Visa's Rocky Relationship

  • May 13 2016, 12:13pm EDT
8 Images Total

Like any long-term relationship, Walmart and Visa have had their ups and downs. Sometimes these interactions were solely between the two companies; but many times, Walmart and Visa's conflicts gave a voice to the entire retail and payments industries.

Court Dates

Walmart's recent lawsuit against Visa, regarding EMV card routing and interchange, is far from its first. The two companies have been butting heads in the courtroom for over a decade.

Content Continues Below

Swipe Fee Saga

Walmart opted out of the high-profile $5.7 billion class action settlement over swipe fees between major retailers and Visa and MasterCard in late 2013 — what would have been the end of a court battle that began in 2005 — turning right around in March of 2014 and filing its own $5 billion lawsuit against Visa. That claim was settled out of court last year.

Going Online

In January of 2016, during a calm in the legal storm, Walmart added Visa Checkout as a payment option on its website. The retail giant also supports MasterCard's online payment option, MasterPass.

In the Club

In February, Walmart's Sam's Club stores began accepting Visa credit cards, making it possible for shoppers to use any of the four major U.S. card brands.

Content Continues Below

Early EMV

Despite its recent lawsuit against Visa, Walmart was actually an early champion of EMV security — as long as PIN authentication is involved. In 2010, a Walmart exec favored chip-and-PIN cards over what the company described as "Band-Aid" technologies like end-to-end encryption and tokenization.

MCX in the Mix

The Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) CurrentC mobile wallet initiative, which counts Walmart as a major backer, was the retail industry drawing a line in the sand that it did not want issuers and card networks to cross. MCX's original goals involved lowering retailers' payment costs and retaining control of customer data.

Walmart Pay, Meeting Halfway

Walmart Pay is an unusual compromise in the tug-of-war over control of mobile payments. It adopts many of the elements of MCX's mobile wallet plan, but it doesn't limit payments to inexpensive ACH transfers. Its funding methods include credit and debit cards.