TORONTO, Dec. 15 /CNW/ - "Visa is disappointed that the Canadian Competition Bureau has taken an anti-consumer position by filing a lawsuit against Visa to overturn policies that protect consumers from being punished by large retailers who seek to impose surcharges and take away consumer choice at the checkout counter. We intend to vigorously defend our pro-consumer provisions.
"Visa's no surcharging protection was created specifically to shield consumers from retailers who seek to impose checkout fees and penalize consumers who choose the convenience, security and reliability of Visa over cash and cheques.
"Merchants already have numerous options available to help manage costs, while receiving all the benefits of electronic payments. Visa's policies do not preclude retailers from offering an incentive to customers to use different forms of payment and offering discounts to consumers who pay with the retailer's preferred payment method whether it be cash, cheque, debit or another credit card payment network. Additionally, a November 2009 consumer survey by the Consumers' Association of Canada found that 90 per cent of Canadians oppose permitting retailers to impose surcharges, with 75 per cent strongly opposing surcharging.
"In those few countries that permit surcharging today, such as Australia and the United Kingdom, evidence indicates that many large retailers profit from the fees by shifting the cost of doing business onto consumers. For example, in Australia, where the law requires that surcharging be permitted, many retailers in fact charge consumers more than the cost of card acceptance, turning surcharging into a profit centre for large retailers at the expense of consumers.
"Visa's honour all cards protection was put in place to prevent merchants from reaching into consumers' wallets and dictating which payment products they can use. The policy requires that a merchant who accepts Visa Credit products for payment must accept all cards within this category. Removing this pro-consumer policy will lead to consumer confusion and eliminate consumer choice at the point-of-sale.
"Visa does not have a non-discrimination provision.
"Visa is also disappointed that the Bureau, which aims to foster a competitive and innovative marketplace, chose to discriminate against Visa and MasterCard alone, ignoring higher priced competitors such as American Express. If the Bureau is successful, consumers will be harmed, the flow of commerce will be slowed and an unlevel playing field created.
"Visa will defend our no-surcharge and honour all cards protections as they ensure fair business practices for Visa and retailers, while preserving consumer choice at the checkout counter."
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 10,000 transactions 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 www.visa.ca.
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