Wal-Mart will stop accepting MasterCard signature debit cards as of 1 February 2004, citing higher transaction fees compared to other cards.
In April this year MasterCard was forced into an out-of-court settlement with a group of US retailers - led by Wal-Mart - who complained about excessive fees for signature-based debit card payments.
As a result of the merchants' lawsuit settlement, MasterCard can no longer require retailers to accept its signature debit card as a condition of accepting its credit card.
Wal-Mart says the move only affects debit cards that require a signature, although customers will still be able to use these card's through PIN-based networks such as Star, ACCEL, Nyce and AFFN. The retailer will continue to accept MasterCard credit cards.
Mike Cook, Wal-Mart's vice president and assistant treasurer, says: "The fees charged by MasterCard for its signature debit are simply too high, which led us to eliminate this payment option rather than pass these costs on to our customers."