An early Christmas present for small business: CFIB welcomes announcement of
Canada's voluntary Code of Conduct for credit and debit card industry

TORONTO, Nov. 19 /CNW/ - Following a year of rising credit card merchant fees and threats to Canada's debit market, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) welcomes today's announcement by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty of a draft voluntary Code of Conduct for the credit and debit card industry. This draft Code, which very closely resembles the Code put forward by CFIB in mid-2009, will go a long way toward increasing transparency and restoring fairness to small businesses and consumers in their credit and debit card transactions.

Principles included in the Code, such as the need for more transparency and disclosure of information regarding the cost of transactions, proper notice provisions to merchants about contract changes, the issuance of premium cards only on request, the ability for merchants to offer a variety of cash discounts and a provision giving the merchant control of how transactions are routed and all major improvements to current and planned industry practices.

"Today's announcement of the draft Code constitutes an important step and is timely as we enter the holiday season that is so vital to so many retailers, especially coming out of a recession. We are particularly pleased that government is being proactive in helping to lay the groundwork in advance of major expected campaigns on the part of Visa and Mastercard in the debit industry. These developments will create a better future for merchants and help ensure a fair and transparent credit and debit market instead of just letting large industry players call all the shots," said CFIB president Catherine Swift.

CFIB has led the charge calling for a voluntary Code of Conduct and maintains that a fair but rigorously applied Code by the credit and debit card industry is the best way to move forward. CFIB now challenges Visa, MasterCard, the chartered banks and card processing companies to adopt this voluntary Code of Conduct. "Our organization intends to fully participate in the consultation process announced today in order to ensure the rapid implementation of a voluntary Code of Conduct that will give merchants a voice in these important changes to the debit and credit card market. To ensure meaningful consultations, we are urging credit card companies, banks and processors to hold off on any changes to the credit and debit card marketplace until the Code is finalized and put into operation," concluded Swift.

To consult CFIB's proposed Code of Conduct and our extensive work on this issue please visit www.cfib-fcei.ca/english/focus/15-credit_card.html

SOURCE Canadian Federation of Independent Business

For further information: For further information: or to arrange an interview with Catherine Swift, contact Meghan Carrington or Adam Miller at (416) 222-8022

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Canadian Federation of Independent Business

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