Media Advisory - Background/media availability on credit card ruling

TORONTO, July 22, 2013 /CNW/ - Following media reports that Canada's Competition Tribunal will rule on Tuesday on a landmark complaint against Visa and MasterCard, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) will be available immediately following the ruling to comment.

"This will be an important day for small business," said CFIB president Dan Kelly. "We are hopeful the Tribunal will give merchants the power to fight back against steadily rising credit card fees."

Every year, Canadians pay between $5-7 billion in credit card processing fees (about 2-3.5% of the sale).  The Competition Bureau says fees in Canada are among the highest in the world.  At issue in the Competition Bureau's complaint are:

SURCHARGING
Visa and MasterCard rules currently prohibit merchants from adding a small surcharge to credit card purchases.  This is allowed in several other countries, including, as of this year, in the US, following an out-of-court settlement by Visa and MasterCard.  Surcharging for Interac in Canada has always been permitted. "CFIB believes very few merchants would surcharge for credit card acceptance, but the power to do it would cause Visa and MasterCard to rethink future fee hikes," said Kelly.

HONOUR ALL CARDS
In contracts with merchants, Visa and MasterCard rules require merchants to accept all types of their cards, regardless of how much the card may cost a merchant.  In recent years, credit card processing fees in Canada have risen dramatically as Visa and MasterCard have issued premium credit cards like Visa Infinite and MasterCard World.  "We want merchants to be able to choose whether or not they wish to accept a card that carries dramatically higher fees," Kelly said.

CFIB has taken a leading role in protecting both merchants and consumers from the ever-increasing impact of credit card processing fees. At CFIB's urging, the federal government introduced the Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry, which protects Canada's low-cost, flat-fee debit system, and empowers small businesses when they deal with the payments industry.

CFIB is Canada's largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region.

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 via email at public.affairs@cfib.ca  

To arrange an interview with Martine Hébert please contact François Vincent at 514 861-3234 or 514 817-0228 (cell).


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