Restaurant industry seeks "truth and transparency" on credit/debit card fees



    TORONTO, April 23 /CNW/ - Despite testimony in the Senate over the past
few days, Canadian restaurateurs are still baffled by the skyrocketing credit
card fees being charged to restaurants each time a customer pays with Visa or
MasterCard.
    The Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce heard from credit and
debit card company representatives this week during its investigation into
fees charged to merchants and consumers. Despite repeated calls from Senators
for an explanation of fees, Visa and MasterCard blamed the payment processors
that charge fees to merchants and avoided questions about all other credit
card fees.
    "It's a simple matter of truth and transparency," says Justin Taylor,
Vice President Labour and Taxation for the Canadian Restaurant and
Foodservices Association (CRFA). "If the top credit card executives can't
explain the fees, how can we expect restaurateurs to understand them? The fact
that these companies refuse to be held accountable for their fees is
shameful." During Wednesday's testimony, Visa and MasterCard also defended
their plans to introduce new, high-cost debit products. "Credit card companies
argue that their debit products will enhance consumer choice - but we don't
buy it," says Taylor. "We've seen it happen before. Banks will use reward
points to lure customers into using the higher-cost debit product. In the end,
merchants and customers will be paying more for a new service that no one
except the credit card companies needs, or wants."
    The head of Interac also appeared before the Senate, outlining a plan to
change Interac into a for-profit commercial entity that will be "more
innovative."
    "If more bells and whistles mean consumers and merchants will be charged
higher fees, restaurateurs are not on board," says Taylor.
    In its written submission to the committee, CRFA explained how the unfair
practices of credit card companies and banks are leading to significant
increases in costs for restaurant operators - and to higher menu prices for
consumers.

    One of Canada's largest business associations, CRFA represents
independent and chain restaurants, bars, contract and social caterers, hotels
and other foodservice providers. CRFA is a member of the Stop Sticking It To
Us Coalition, a group of Canadian associations representing more than 120,000
businesses that have joined forces to put a stop to skyrocketing credit card
fees.





For further information:

For further information: Justin Taylor, CRFA Vice President, Labour and
Taxation, (416) 649-4214, or jtaylor@crfa.ca; Jeni Armstrong, CRFA
Communications Specialist, (416) 649-4254, or jarmstrong@crfa.ca


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