Swipe away: Aldi starts accepting credit cards at its MN stores

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As Aldi continues its takeover of the discount super market industry in Minnesota, it's testing something new that may attract more customers in the highly segmented and competitive industry.

The German-based no frills grocery store chain expanded to the United States in the 1970s and in the last few years Aldis have been popping up all over the country after the chain announced it planned to operate nearly 2,000 stores in the U.S. by 2018.

Aldi first opened in Minnesota in 2004 and now there are roughly 20 stores in the Twin Cities, and locations in St. Cloud and southern Minnesota. And since Roundy's left the state earlier this year, Aldi has continued its expansion.

Credit card swipers, no swiping!

But shoppers around the world have complained the grocery store doesn't accept credit cards, Guardian reported. Credit card processing fees can be expensive, so in most stores Aldi only accepts cash, debit and EBT cards to keep its prices low, according to its website.

That's changed in Minnesota, at least for now.

Aldi has started accepting various credit cards – including Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express – in Minnesota, Hudson, Wisconsin, and Syracuse, New York, the Star Tribune reports.

The change has been well received.

Aldi customers commented on various financial forums saying they were able to use credit cards at Minnesota stores in early November. Many appreciated the change because they get bonuses or cash back from buying groceries with their credit card, but previously weren't able to get those when they shopped at Aldi.

Cashiers are also enjoying the switch because they no longer have to explain to customers why credit cards aren't accepted, the Star Tribune notes.

Why the change now?

Aldi dropped its ban on credit cards in the United Kingdom earlier this year, Guardian said, in an attempt to attract business from other supermarkets. And the store has done the same in Australia, the Daily Mail reported.

And that's why Aldi is testing credit cards in Minnesota, hoping it'll snag some customers who are looking for a new grocery store after numerous Rainbow grocery stores closed earlier this year, the Star Tribune says.

In annother attempt to lure customers, Aldi sent coupons to be used at any Minnesota location, the blog Creative Couponing noted. This is not typical of the no frills super market, which charges customers for a grocery cart and shopping bags, according to its website.

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