MasterCard Canada announces fee hike for small business in advance of Competition Tribunal decision

TORONTO, Jan. 4, 2013 /CNW/ - Following recent decisions by Visa Canada, MasterCard Canada has communicated plans to increase its transaction fees for small merchants in the summer of 2013.  MasterCard will increase its "assessment fee" from 6.4 to 7.7 basis points - a 20 per cent increase on July 1, 2013.

"CFIB is very disappointed that MasterCard is choosing to increase its fees at a time when small firms are struggling with an uncertain economy," said Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) president and CEO Dan Kelly.  "While MasterCard is raising fees by a smaller amount than Visa, it is particularly surprising that both major card brands are increasing their fees just before Canada's Competition Tribunal is expected to rule on its case against the two card giants."

A decision from the Competition Tribunal could allow merchants to add surcharges for accepting credit cards, or allow merchants to refuse to accept certain higher cost cards. While MasterCard has promised two small fee reductions in the fall, MasterCard already offers an "uber-premium" card - a move Visa has recently promised to follow. 

"Unfortunately, the only competition between Visa and MasterCard is to see who can raise prices the most for merchants and consumers and deliver the highest fees for Canada's banks," Kelly noted.

CFIB reminds consumers that paying with Interac, debit or cash is one small way they can help small businesses. In addition, merchants can find special signage to promote paying with Interac or cash at www.cfib.ca/debitcredit.

"CFIB will continue its work as the watchdog of the credit card industry in Canada and press for further changes to the Code of Conduct to help merchants push back against unfair fees and practices," said Kelly. "Small business owners are calling on MasterCard to reconsider its plans to hit them with higher fees when many entrepreneurs simply can't afford to pay more."

As Canada's largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses, CFIB is Powered by Entrepreneurs™. Established in 1971, CFIB takes direction from more than 109,000 members in every sector nationwide, giving independent business a strong and influential voice at all levels of government and helping to grow the economy.


SOURCE: CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS

For further information:

To arrange an interview with Dan Kelly, please call Gisele Lumsden at 416 222-8022 or by email at public.affairs@cfib.ca