Canadian Small and Independent Businesses Say to Visa and MasterCard - "Stop Sticking it to Us"



    
    63% of Canadians agree credit card fees are increasing with no
    added-value
    

    TORONTO, Sept. 10 /CNW/ - Today, Retail Council of Canada (RCC) and a
coalition of like-minded associations launched "www.StopStickingItToUs.com", a
national campaign against Big Credit Card companies and the banks that issue
their cards that have been imposing skyrocketing hidden credit card fees on
all Canadians. The campaign targets the more than $4.5 billion dollars worth
of hidden credit card fees paid by Canadians each year.
    As Canadians prepare to go to the polls this fall, they will be looking
for strong leadership on this issue and the effect it has on the Canadian
economy.
    Over the next few weeks, RCC will be asking small businesses and
Canadians to stand up and tell the Big Credit Card companies and the banks
that issue their cards to stop sticking it to us.
    "Interchange fees", represent an enormous cost for average Canadians and
any organization that accepts payment by credit card - merchants, charities,
schools, restaurants, hotels, government services and others. The average
Canadian household pays hundreds of dollars a year in interchange fees without
even knowing it as they are a hidden portion of the cost of virtually every
transaction they make.

    
    A new poll conducted by Nanos Research on behalf of Retail Council of
    Canada found that:
    -   55% of Canadians had a poor understanding of the fees associated with
        credit cards.
    -   63% of Canadians believe that credit card fees are increasing with no
        noticeable increase in value.
    -   77% of Canadians believe that credit card companies are not fully
        transparent in explaining their fees for credit cards.
    

    Nearly $2 of every $100 Canadians spend using credit cards goes directly
to the Big Credit Card companies and their issuing banks. Canada is one of the
few industrialized countries in the world that doesn't regulate these fees,
which is why they are among the highest in the world - and they continue to
escalate.
    "Big Credit Card companies and their banks are taking advantage of local
retailers, businesses and all Canadians by exploiting loopholes that keep the
true cost of skyrocketing fees from the average consumer," says Diane J.
Brisebois, President and CEO of Retail Council of Canada. "Our coalition is
seeking government action and will be calling on political candidates to take
a stance on what their position on this issue is."
    These unregulated and skyrocketing fees are of particular concern in the
current period of economic softening in Canada, when consumers and businesses
are pressured to be increasingly cost-conscious.
    "Canadians pay among the highest credit card fees in the world," says
Brisebois. "Retailers and other business are not opposed to paying fees, as
long as they correspond to the actual cost of the service that is rendered.
Big Credit Card companies and the banks issuing their cards are out of control
and their practices need to be regulated."
    As an alternative to credit cards, Canadian merchants have long trusted
Interac to deliver an efficient, transparent and low-cost debit card system.
Now that system is in jeopardy. Interac is planning to re-structure in order
to become a private/public company like the foreign-owned credit card
providers, Visa and MasterCard. The anticipated result a higher fee for
merchants and all Canadians who use debit cards.

    
    StopStickingItToUs Coalition members include:

    Retail Council of Canada
    Alberta Liquor Stores Association
    Canadian Booksellers Association
    Canadian Convenience Stores Association
    Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors
    Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers
    Canadian Jewellers Association
    Conseil Quebecois du commerce de detail (Quebec Retail Council)
    Ontario Accommodation Association
    Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association
    Retail B.C.
    The Hotel Association of Canada
    

    Survey methodology

    The random telephone survey by Nanos Research polled 1,000 Canadians from
August, 20 to August 27, 2008. The margin for accuracy for a sample of 1,000
is +3.1%, 19 times out of 20. For more information, visit
www.nanosresearch.com

    About Retail Council of Canada

    Retail Council of Canada (RCC) has been the Voice of Retail in Canada
since 1963. We speak for an industry that touches the daily lives of Canadians
in every corner of the country - by providing jobs, career opportunities, and
by investing in the communities we serve.
    RCC is a not-for-profit, industry-funded association representing more
than 40,000 store fronts of all retail formats across Canada, including
department, specialty, discount, and independent stores, and online merchants.
RCC is a strong advocate for retailing in Canada and works with all levels of
government and other stakeholders to support employment growth and career
opportunities in retail, to promote and sustain retail investments in
communities from coast-to-coast, and to enhance consumer choice and industry
competitiveness. RCC also provides its members with a full range of services
and programs including education and training, benchmarking and best
practices, networking, advocacy, and industry information.
    For more information, visit www.stopstickingittous.com.





For further information:

For further information: Mark Beazley, Director, Communications, Retail
Council of Canada, mbeazley@retailcouncil.org or (416) 922-0553 ext. 228, toll
free at 1-888-373-8245 ext. 228


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