Small Business pledges job creation, increased investment and a reduction in prices from reduced credit card fees

TORONTO, Aug. 5, 2014 /CNW/ - More than 90,000 small and medium size businesses in Canada plan a reduction in prices, increased investment and job creation when credit card swipe fees are reduced.

The 'Pledge to Consumers' reads:

"Members of the Small Business Matters Coalition, representing thousands of businesses across Canada, urge the Government of Canada to reduce credit card swipe fees and to bring fairness and transparency to the Canadian Payments Industry.  

In turn, our members pledge that the reduction in credit card fees will be to the benefit of consumers and communities across Canada, through improved competitiveness, increased investment, job creation and reduced consumer prices."

The Small Business Matters Coalition was formed earlier this year to help address the burden of swipe fees imposed on merchants every time they process a credit card payment. Swipe fees are eroding the already slim margins of these small business owners experience, jeopardizing their economic competitiveness and in some cases, their future in business.

"Through the formation of the coalition, we have been working with government and relevant stakeholders to raise awareness about the current payments landscape, and advocate for a reduction in these fees" said Gary Sands, Chair of the Small Business Matters Coalition, who is also the Vice President of the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers.

Canada has among the highest credit card fees in the world.  While many countries have taken steps to reduce the fees paid by retailers, Canada has yet to do so.  Alex Scholten, Vice Chair of the Coalition and President of the Canadian Convenience Stores Association, said, "In addition to reducing fees, it is equally important to establish a process that will provide the retail community with transparency and accountability in how fees are set by the credit card companies."

Scholten went on to say that more than 90 per cent of all credit card transactions processed in Canada are made through Visa or MasterCard, representing billions of dollars in purchases.  "The payments landscape for these two companies stands in stark contrast to the one that exists for Canada's small business retailers, who operate in fiercely competitive markets with extremely tight margins," he said.

Sands further stated, "The Competition Bureau of Canada estimates there are about $5 billion in hidden credit card swipe fees paid annually by Canada's retailers, resulting in higher prices for all consumers, whether they pay by cash, debit or credit.  Reducing these fees will benefit consumers and allow small businesses to manage their future, as opposed to having the credit card companies manage it for them."

The Small Business Coalition pledge, which includes the logos of the associations in support, has been sent to Finance Minister Joe Oliver, and copied to Members of Parliament and provincial Ministers of Finance across Canada.

SOURCE: Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers

For further information: Gary Sands. CFIG. Toronto. 416-492-2311 ext.230; Alex Scholten. CSSA. Fredericton. 1-877-934-3968


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