Wait… didn’t Sam’s already accept Visa? That’s complicated, and it involves the fees each credit network charged to Sam’s and to corporate parent Walmart. We shoppers don’t see these fees, but when you’re a mega-retailer like Walmart, small differences in fees make a huge difference.
Last fall, Sam’s began accepting American Express, after AmEx and Costco announced that their exclusive partnership would be ending in the spring of 2016. While you couldn’t use Visa credit cards inside the stores, Sam’s did accept all four major credit cards for online purchases, as well as at the gas stations outside of some stores.
Old-school Sam’s Club members will remember when Discover was the only credit card that Sam’s accepted, though cash, checks, and debit cards were also available options. Giving customers more payment choices may be part of their efforts to appeal to more upscale shoppers than it has historically: seekers of organic baby kale may not be pleased if their credit card choice is limited.