Retail Council of Canada applauds Senator's call for investigation of credit and debit fees

    TORONTO, Jan. 30 /CNW/ - Retail Council of Canada (RCC) applauds Senator
Pierrette Ringuette for introducing a motion in the Senate this week to allow
the Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce to investigate and report
on the Canadian credit and debit card system. RCC encourages all Senators to
support this motion and looks forward to participating in the inquiry if it is
allowed to move forward.
    "At a time when many Canadians are struggling and businesses are
challenged to decrease costs while still providing value to their customers,
the fees charged by credit card companies and the banks that issue their cards
are increasing," says Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO, Retail Council of
Canada. "I am encouraged to see Senator Ringuette taking a leadership role by
tabling this motion and urging an inquiry into a system that is failing many
    The fees charged to merchants for accepting credit and debit transactions
represent an enormous cost for average Canadians and any organization that
accepts payment by this method - small businesses and retailers, charities,
schools, restaurants, hotels, government services and others. The average
Canadian household pays hundreds of dollars a year in fees without even
knowing it as they are a hidden portion of virtually every transaction they
    Federal and provincial political leaders can help Canadians and the small
businesses at the heart of their communities by taking action against
skyrocketing credit and debit card fees. If swift action is not taken, many
businesses and the jobs they provide could be at risk - in addition to the
impact on ordinary Canadians' tightening budgets.
    Merchants are not opposed to paying fees, but the costs need to reflect
the services provided. A $1 transaction and a $100 transaction costs about the
same to process, yet the fee is based on a percentage of the total price of
the sale - why?
    The fees retailers, restaurants, charities and others pay the big credit
card companies and the banks issuing their cards are among the highest in the
world, exceeding 2 per cent. That means that a $100 purchase costs small
businesses two dollars or more, which goes directly to the card companies and
their issuing banks. Compare that to a small business in Australia that is
charged 45 cents on the same $100 transaction, or in the UK where they pay 79
cents - in these and other countries governments acted to curb high card
    Dozens of countries around the world - the U.S., Australia, Colombia,
Hungary, Romania and Spain - are investigating the card companies' fee
practices. RCC and the coalition, a group of
national and regional associations representing more the 200,000 businesses
across Canada, call on federal and provincial political leaders to expose
these fees and stand up for small businesses, their employees and the Canadian
communities they serve.

    About Retail Council of Canada

    Retail Council of Canada (RCC) has been the Voice of Retail in Canada
since 1963. We speak for an industry that touches the daily lives of Canadians
in every corner of the country - by providing jobs, career opportunities, and
by investing in the communities we serve.
    RCC is a not-for-profit, industry-funded association representing more
than 40,000 store fronts of all retail formats across Canada, including
department, specialty, discount, and independent stores, and online merchants.
    RCC is a strong advocate for retailing in Canada and works with all
levels of government and other stakeholders to support employment growth and
career opportunities in retail, to promote and sustain retail investments in
communities from coast-to-coast, and to enhance consumer choice and industry
competitiveness. RCC also provides its members with a full range of services
and programs including education and training, benchmarking and best
practices, networking, advocacy, and industry information.

For further information:

For further information: Mark Beazley, Director, Communications, Retail
Council of Canada, (416) 922-0553, ext. 228, toll free at (888) 373-8245, ext.
228, e-mail:

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