Apr 16, 2010

Small Business community applauds finalized Debit/Credit Card Code of Conduct: CFIB

TORONTO--Following a year of rising credit card merchant fees and threats to Canada's debit card market according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), the association welcomes today's announcement by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty of a finalized Code of Conduct for the credit and debit card industry. "It is now time for industry players to get on board. And, we fully expect them to sign on immediately," said Catherine Swift, CFIB president.

This Code, which very closely resembles the Code put forward by CFIB in mid-2009, will help increase transparency and restore fairness to small businesses and consumers in their credit and debit card transactions.

Principles included in the Code are: 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; a provision banning competitive co-badged cards; and disallowing negative optioning.

"Today's announcement of a finalized Code constitutes an important step and is timely as we enter the summer season that is so vital to so many businesses, 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 card industry. These developments will create a better future for merchants and help ensure a fair and transparent credit and debit card market instead of just letting large industry players call all the shots," said Swift.

CFIB has led the charge in calling for a 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 is optimistic that Visa, MasterCard, the chartered banks and card processing companies will quickly move to adopt the Code's parameters. "Our organization applauds the implementation of this Code which will provide merchants with greater clarity and clout in changes to the debit and credit card market. CFIB will be closely monitoring the implementation of the Code to ensure all players live up to their commitments to Canada's job creators - small- and medium-sized businesses," concluded Swift.



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