Visa Canada comments on the draft voluntary Code of Conduct for the Canadian
Credit and Debit Card Industry

TORONTO, Jan. 18 /CNW/ - Visa Canada confirmed it will today submit a response to the draft voluntary Code of Conduct for the Canadian Credit and Debit Card Industry issued by the Department of Finance.

"Visa believes that a competitive and transparent electronic payments industry should be fostered in Canada," said Tim Wilson, Head of Visa Canada. "Our main concern, and one that we've highlighted in our submission to the government, is that the draft Code does not go far enough to protect consumer choice at point of sale and may discourage innovation."

As currently written, the draft Code suggests that merchants "will decide" which debit network is used and allows the merchant to override a consumers' choice of payment without consent. While Visa strongly supports a merchants' right to choose what method of payment it accepts, the Code does not appropriately balance the interests of merchants and consumers.

Merchants today can choose to accept or to not accept Visa Debit cards. If a merchant chooses to accept Visa Debit cards, it can still direct and influence customer behavior at the point-of-sale by steering customers to a preferred network and by offering discounts for other forms of payment.

"Consumer transparency and choice are particularly important because of the meaningful differences that exist between networks," continued Wilson.

There are also practical implications of implementing parts of the Code that could inhibit the development of a competitive debit card market in Canada. Visa Debit cards offer Canadian retailers and consumers features not available with today's debit product, including: enhanced security, chargeback protections, innovations like Visa payWave, expanded acceptance at international points of sale and at online merchants. These are benefits that are available to other consumers and merchants in over 130 other countries around the globe.

"Visa is committed to working with the government to accommodate their concerns while encouraging choice, competition and innovation within the Canadian payments industry. We believe this is an important dialogue and encourage the Minister of Finance to consider the impacts of any Code on merchants and consumers alike," Wilson concluded.

SOURCE VISA Canada Corporation

For further information: For further information: Tania Freedman, Visa Canada, (416) 860-3871 or; Amy Cole, Visa Canada, (416) 860-3938 or; Visa Canada Media Enquiries, (416) 860-3939

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