Small businesses urge federal politicians to act on credit card companies 'sticking it' to Canadians

    - Coalition calls for moratorium on fee increases and new premium cards -

    TORONTO, Oct. 20 /CNW/ - Today, as Canada kicks-off Small Business Week,
Retail Council of Canada (RCC) and its StopStickingItToUs coalition
representing over 120,000 Canadian businesses, the majority of them small and
mid size enterprises, encourage federal political leaders to address the more
than $4.5 billion in hidden credit cards fees Canadians pay each year by
incorporating the issue into their consumer protection agendas. The coalition
applauds the strong commitment all parties made to enact consumer protection
measures during the recent election campaign and is prepared to work with
government to protect consumers and small businesses from skyrocketing credit
card fees.
    RCC and the StopStickingItToUs coalition also call on credit card
companies for a moratorium on new fees, additional fee increases and the
introduction of new premium cards as government considers its options on the
    "At a time when the world's economy is so uncertain, Canadians want to
know their elected representatives will protect their hard-earned dollars,"
says Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO of Retail Council of Canada. "They
are looking for action to expose hidden credit card fees that drive up the
cost of everyday purchases."
    "Interchange fees", represent an enormous cost for average Canadians and
any organization that accepts payment by credit card - small businesses and
retailers, charities, schools, restaurants, hotels, government services and
others. The average Canadian household pays hundreds of dollars a year in
interchange fees without even knowing it as they are a hidden portion of the
cost of virtually every transaction they make.
    Federal political leaders can help average Canadians and the small
businesses at the heart of their communities by taking action against credit
card fees. If swift action is not taken, small businesses and the jobs they
provide could be at greater risk in addition to the impact on Canadians'
tightening budgets.
    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, averaging 2 per cent on every purchase. That means that a $100 purchase
costs small businesses two dollars or more, which goes directly to the Big
Credit Card Companies and their issuing banks. Compare that to a small
business in Australia, who is charged 45 cents on the same $100 transaction,
or in the UK where they pay 79 cents - these countries and a host of others
regulate credit card fees.
    Dozens of countries around the world - the U.S., Australia, Colombia,
Hungary, Romania and Spain - are investigating the big credit card companies'
fee practices. The StopStickingItToUs coalition calls on federal political
leaders to expose hidden credit card fees in Canada and stand-up for small
businesses, their employees and the ordinary Canadians they serve

    StopStickingItToUs Coalition members include:

    Retail Council of Canada
    Alberta Liquor Store Association
    Canadian Booksellers Association
    Canadian Convenience Stores Association
    Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors
    Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers
    Canadian Jewellers Association Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices
    Hotel Association of Canada
    Ontario Accommodation Association
    Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association
    Retail B.C
    The Canadian Independent Petroleum Marketers Association
    The British Columbia Restaurant and Food Services Association
    The Retail Merchant's Association of Canada (Ontario)
    Wine Council of Ontario
    Mega Group Inc.
    Bicycle Trade Association of Canada

    For more information, visit

    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, or (416) 922-0553 ext. 228; toll
free at 1-888-373-8245 ext. 228

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