Walmart in Canada charges cart deposit

A worker pulls shopping carts outside a Walmart store in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on Monday, Jan. 24, 2022. Premier Franois Legault announced that residents will have to show their vaccination passport starting today to enter stores with floor surfaces of 1,500 square meters or more. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Christinne Muschi

Walmart Inc.'s Canadian unit started charging customers a small deposit to use a shopping cart in some of its stores on Wednesday. Shoppers get their money back when they return the cart to the store, the retailer said.

Walmart spokesman Charles Crowson confirmed the move on Thursday. Earlier social media reports said shoppers had to pay to use the carts, but neglected to add that the money was only a deposit.

Deposits range from about 25 cents to $1, Crowson said.

"The program helps improve cart availability while cutting down on theft and damage," he said. Once the cart is returned to its proper space, such as a cart corral, the deposited currency will be returned to the customer.

Crowson said this is standard practice for discount grocers and retailers in Canada.

No similar move is planned for Walmart's U.S. stores, Crowson said.

Aldi, an international grocer with an increasing presence in the U.S., requires a 25-cent deposit to use its carts.

This saves customers money "because we don't have to hire extra staff to collect grocery carts," Aldi's website said.