Apr 16, 2010

INTERAC says code delivers meaningful, practical solutions

TORONTO--Interac Association welcomes the final Code of Conduct for Debit and Credit Payments in Canada released today by federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. After a comprehensive consultation period with stakeholders, the Minister has developed meaningful and practical solutions that will effectively address significant concerns that have been raised by merchants and consumers about changes taking place in Canada's debit marketplace.

"The draft Code certainly had good bones and Minister Flaherty didn't just add flesh to them, he added muscle," emphasized Mark O'Connell, President and CEO of Interac Association. "It is clear that Minister Flaherty has heard the concerns of merchants and consumers, concerns that we share, and has responded with an appropriate and pragmatic Code of Conduct."

INTERAC is a low-cost, world-class debit system and has served Canadians well. Millions of Canadians depend on debit every day. Almost 60 per cent of all card payment transactions in Canada are debit. In 2009, consumers carried out nearly 4 billion debit transactions.

"Maintaining complementary co-badged debit cards is an elegant solution to a whole host of concerns caused by competitive co-badged cards," said Mr. O'Connell. "It upholds what exists in Canadians' wallets today and, at the same time, enhances the competitive debit landscape in Canada by promoting fair and healthy competition."

Canada now has a multi-network debit environment and all competitors should play by the same transparent rules that provide adequate protection for merchants and consumers.

"As we have said repeatedly, a level playing field is an essential foundation of a healthy competitive market and one that truly works for all stakeholders," reinforced Mr. O'Connell. "Without question, the Code helps build that by re-establishing choice and transparency in the marketplace for merchants and consumers, which we support."

"Clear information about service offerings and their associated costs, and allowing stakeholders to make informed choices should be hallmarks of Canada's debit system," added Mr. O'Connell. "They are certainly at the heart of the INTERAC business model."

With its 24/7 convenience, reliability and security, Canadians have embraced INTERAC to become some of the highest users of debit per capita globally. INTERAC securely connects Canadians to their money at the ABM, at retailers in Canada and the US, and online through Web based services: INTERAC Online, for online purchases, and INTERAC Email Money Transfer, for person-to-person money transfers. INTERAC is also a leader in the prevention and detection of debit card fraud, and consumers are fully protected from fraudulent transactions. A new contactless INTERAC debit payment option is also on the way that will provide customers a fast and convenient payment alternative to cash for everyday small purchases.



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