TORONTO, Nov. 6, 2013 /CNW/ - Today the Canadian Federation of
Independent Business (CFIB) and debt crusader Gail Vaz-Oxlade launched
a new campaign to encourage Canadians to give their credit cards a
break for one day a week. Credit Free Friday calls on Canadian
consumers to help small businesses, and themselves, by paying with Interac Debit or cash when they shop on Fridays.
"Small businesses are finding it increasingly challenging to absorb the
high fees they are charged by the credit card companies and banks,"
said CFIB president Dan Kelly. "Very few consumers know that $5-7
billion each year in credit card processing fees is embedded in the
cost of everything they buy, and with ever-higher tiers of premium
cards hitting the market, that cost is only going up. As consumers are
often unaware that the merchant loses between 2-3.5% of a credit card
sale, Credit Free Fridays can be a great way to support small firms."
The other side of the credit card issue is that it is also adding to
record-high levels of consumer debt. Recent data from Statistics Canada
shows that the average Canadian now has approximately $27,000 in
consumer debt, not including mortgages. Credit card debt specifically
totalled close to $74 billion Canada-wide in November 2012 - over
$2,000 per capita. The proliferation of credit card reward programs
encourages consumers to use their cards more often, without always
thinking of the consequences.
"Just because you have a $5,000 limit on your credit card, doesn't mean
you can afford to rack up that kind of debt," said Vaz-Oxlade. "When
you pay with debit or cash, you know that you can only spend what you
have. If you're chasing the points and carrying a balance, those points
are costing you big time. And if you can't go one day a week without
using your credit cards, you have to wonder how the credit card
companies trained you so well!"
Federal NDP Consumer critic Glenn Thibeault is a big supporter of the
campaign, and encourages Canadians to participate. "Credit Free Friday
is a great way to get consumers thinking about how their choice of
payment can affect their personal finances and small businesses," said
The launch was held at Wanda's Pie in the Sky, an independently owned
bakery in Toronto. In addition to calling for a weekly credit card
holiday, the campaign gives small business owners tools that they can
use to gently encourage customers to think about how they pay. There is
also an interactive social media element that asks Canadians to get
creative with ways to put their credit cards on a timeout. More details
are available at www.creditfreefriday.ca.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB) has 109,000
small- and medium-sized businesses as members across Canada. With
regional offices all across Canada, CFIB provides advice and support to
help small businesses grow and succeed. CFIB has been the leading
voice calling for changes to the credit card industry in Canada.
About Gail Vaz-Oxlade
Gail Vaz-Oxlade is the well-known host of TV hits such as Til Debt Do Us Part, Princess, and Money Moron, and author of multiple best-selling books on money management and
investing. She is recognized for her no-nonsense approach to finance
and has helped thousands of Canadians get in touch with their money and
what they want it to do for them. Gail is loved by millions for her
irreverent style and unique ability to make the most complex of
financial topics accessible to all.
SOURCE: Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)
For further information:
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