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Wal-Mart to Quit Using Interlink

September 5, 2001

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) _ Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will no longer accept a certain debit-card system because that company doubled its fees, the discount retailer announced Tuesday.

Wal-Mart spokesman Tom Williams said the Bentonville, Ark.,-based retailer will stop using the Interlink network, which is owned by Visa International, starting Oct. 13.

Separately, the two companies already are heading to court over debit cards.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and about 20 other retailers sued Visa and MasterCard International Inc. in federal court, claiming that Visa and MasterCard used their dominance in credit cards to force retailers to accept their debit cards, for which they have charged excessive transaction fees.

Interlink more than doubled the fees it charges merchants, to 45 cents from 20 cents for each transaction, Williams said. He said most other debit-card networks the company uses charge about 10 cents per transaction.

``There’s no way we were going to pass on any increased fees to our customers,″ Williams said. ``We couldn’t accept that.″

The majority of debit-card and credit card transactions won’t be affected.

Even those whose debit cards are tied only to Interlink could still use the cards to purchase items, but they could not get cash back at Wal-Mart, Williams said.

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