By Bloomberg | | PUBLISHED: August 1, 2018 at 1:50 pm | UPDATED: August 1, 2018 at 1:50 pm By Jenny Surane, Bloomberg The nation’s largest supermarket chain announced that 21 stores in California will stop accepting Visa cards — and the company may expand the ban. The Visa prohibition will begin Aug. 14 at Foods Co. supermarkets and fuel centers in Northern and Central California. The Kroger-owned chain includes several stores in the Bay Area — San Francisco, Oakland, Pittsburg and Richmond — as well as in the Central Valley and Salinas Valley. The Kroger decision is a response to what it considers excessive fees that Visa requires of the retailer, spokesman Chris Hjelm said in an interview. “It’s pretty clear we need to move down this path, and if we have to expand that beyond Foods Co., we’re prepared to take that step,” Hjelm said. When the amount retailers pay in card fees “gets out of alignment, as we believe it is now, we don’t believe we have a choice but to use whatever mechanism possible to get it back in alignment.” Foods Co. will still accept all debit cards, including Visa debit cards, as well as MasterCard, American Express and Discover credit cards. Besides its hundreds of stores bearing the Kroger name, the company operates many other chains, including Ralphs in Southern California, and Smith’s, QFC, Fred Meyer, City Market and King Soopers elsewhere in the western United States.