Visa to vigorously defend its consumer protection policies

Visa released the following statement in conjunction with its Response to the Bureau's Application:

TORONTO, Jan. 31 /CNW/ - "Visa remains committed to preserving our pro competitive and pro consumer policies and we have reiterated this position today in our response to the Canadian Competition Bureau legal challenge.  We believe the Bureau's Application to eliminate our no surcharge and honour all cards policies has no merit and in fact the Bureau's position would be harmful to Canadian consumers.

"Visa's no-surcharging protection was created specifically to prevent retailers from imposing a check-out fee on consumers who choose the convenience, security and reliability of Visa cards over cash and cheques.  By eliminating this protection the Competition Bureau proposes to allow merchants to penalize Canadians by charging more than the advertised price for products and apply a surprise fee at check-out simply because a cardholder has exercised their individual choice to use a credit card.

"In countries where government regulators have allowed retailers to surcharge, retailers have often turned this practice into a profit centre. In Australia, where regulations allow retailers to surcharge consumers, surcharges are now as high as 10 per cent, according to a November 2010 survey commissioned by the New South Wales Minister for Fair Trading.

"Visa's honour all cards protection is in place to ensure consumers are able to choose, without penalty, the credit card that best suits their particular transaction, and prevent merchants from reaching into their wallets to dictate the credit card they use.  Removing this pro-consumer policy will lead to consumer confusion and reduce consumer choice at the point-of-sale. 

"In the highly competitive Canadian marketplace, merchants have an abundance of choice on how to receive payment, including credit cards, charge cards, prepaid cards, private label cards, debit cards, cash, cheques, and other electronic and non-electronic payment methods. Also, merchants are free to provide incentives or discounts to Canadian consumers to steer them to the merchant's preferred payment method.

"Merchants that do choose to accept Visa cards receive tremendous benefits including access to over a billion cardholders, potential for increased sales, faster returns, guaranteed payment, and enhanced security. In a two sided market, Visa believes consumer benefits should be equally protected."

About Visa Canada

Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. Underpinning digital currency is one of the world's most advanced processing networks—VisaNet—that is capable of handling more than 20,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa's innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products.

Visa has been operating in Canada for more than 40 years.  Within Canada, financial institutions have issued more than 31 million Visa cards and the company serves more than 600,000 point of sale acceptance locations across the country.  Visa facilitates Canadian commerce through the transfer of payments across our network securely and reliably every second of every day. For more information, visit

SOURCE VISA Canada Corporation

For further information:

Media Contact: Melissa Cassar, Visa Canada (416) 860-8895,


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