The 800 pound gorilla of retail and the 800 pound gorilla of payments are duking it out again. Walmart landed a solid punch at Visa this month by inking a deal with MasterCard and GE to switch its Sam’s Club and Walmart co-branded cards from Discover to MasterCard by the end of this year. Before climbing in bed with MasterCard, Walmart hit Visa last month with a solid punch by filing an antitrust lawsuit seeking $5 billion in damages for excessive swipe fees.
For consumers the move to a MasterCard will provide cardholders with greater acceptance than the Discover card as well as more robust features and benefits.
Sam’s Club MasterCards will be launched in June, while the Walmart MasterCard will be issued by the fall. Walmart says customers who use its Discover-branded credit cards will be able to continue using them for now.
If Walmart prevails in its lawsuit with Visa, then consumers may benefit from the lower transaction costs if retailers pass the savings to customers.
Walmart currently offers the Walmart Credit Card and the Walmart Discover Credit Card. Sam’s Club offers the Sam’s Club Savings Member Credit Card and the Sam’s Club Plus Discover Earn Cash Back Credit Card.
GE Capital’s Retail Finance (soon to be Synchrony Financial) began its relationship with Sam’s Club in 1993, providing credit programs for business members; adding revolving credit programs for Sam’s Club consumer members in 1995; and currently offering Sam’s Club private-label credit card programs and co-branded cards for Savings, Business and Plus members – all of which double as membership cards. Member credit cardholders enjoy a range of benefits, including cash back on every day purchases for the co-branded card, in-club cash access, photo protection, online account management, one card convenience, special financing promotions, and savings opportunities and events.
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