RCC applauds Alberta Premier's call to Harper for limits on credit and debit fees



    - Ed Stelmach Stands-up for Small Businesses in Province -

    EDMONTON, Dec. 17 /CNW/ - Retail Council of Canada (RCC) applauds Alberta
Premier Ed Stelmach for his recommendation to Prime Minister Stephen Harper
and his government to limit fees charged to businesses for processing credit
and debit transactions - fees that eventually trickle down to consumers. The
Premier's recommendation came Monday in an open letter to the Prime Minister
outlining Alberta's priorities for the federal budget. RCC encourages Premiers
in every province to stand up for Canadian small businesses and the
communities they serve by taking a stance on these skyrocketing fees.
    "At a time when Canadian consumers and merchants are struggling, Premier
Stelmach has shown great leadership by calling for limits to the skyrocketing
fees charged by big credit card companies and the banks that issue their
cards," said Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO, Retail Council of Canada.
"In addition, businesses are facing the introduction of new payment schemes
from the credit card companies next year, including the introduction of debit,
and the restructuring of Interac, which we anticipate will substantially
increase fees for merchants."
    The fees charged to merchants for accepting credit and debit transactions
represent an enormous cost for average Canadians and any organization that
accepts payment by this method - small businesses and retailers, charities,
schools, restaurants, hotels, government services and others. The average
Canadian household pays hundreds of dollars a year in fees without even
knowing it as they are a hidden portion of virtually every transaction they
make.
    Federal and provincial political leaders can help Canadians and the small
businesses at the heart of their communities by taking action against
skyrocketing credit and debit card fees. If swift action is not taken, small
businesses and the jobs they provide could be at greater risk - in addition to
the impact on Canadians' tightening budgets.
    The fees retailers, restaurants, charities and others pay the big credit
card companies and the banks issuing their cards are among the highest in the
world, exceeding 2 per cent. That means that a $100 purchase costs small
businesses two dollars or more, which goes directly to the card companies and
their issuing banks. Compare that to a small business in Australia that is
charged 45 cents on the same $100 transaction, or in the UK where they pay 79
cents - in these and other countries governments acted to curb high card
costs.
    Dozens of countries around the world - the U.S., Australia, Colombia,
Hungary, Romania and Spain - are investigating the card companies' fee
practices. The StopStickingItToUs coalition calls on federal and provincial
political leaders to expose these fees and standup for small businesses, their
employees and the Canadian communities they serve.

    StopStickingItToUs Coalition members include:

    Retail Council of Canada, Alberta Liquor Store Association, Canadian
Booksellers Association, Canadian Convenience Stores Association, Canadian
Council of Grocery Distributors, Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers,
Canadian Jewellers Association, Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices
Association, Hotel Association of Canada, Ontario Accommodation Association,
Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association, Retail B.C, The Canadian
Independent Petroleum Marketers Association, The British Columbia Restaurant
and Food Services Association, The Retail Merchant's Association of Canada
(Ontario), Wine Council of Ontario, Mega Group Inc., Bicycle Trade Association
of Canada, Canadian Oil Heat Association, Conseil québécois du commerce de
détail, Camping in Ontario, Tourism Industry Association of Canada.

    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.ca.




For further information:

For further information: For inquiries, please contact 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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