Aug 16, 2010

CFIB welcomes official start to Credit and Debit Card Code of Conduct

TORONTO--The Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry in Canada was made official today and has been adopted by all the major card brands, including MasterCard and Visa. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) and its 107,000 members look forward to a fairer playing field in the payments sector, following two years of massive merchant fee hikes and unfair practices on the part of some card brands, banks and card processors (acquirer).

The new Code is based heavily on proposals by CFIB in 2009 and gives merchants new powers in their dealings with the major card brands. Many important provisions of the Code come into effect today, including a new power for merchants to cancel a contract without penalty within 90 days if unscheduled new or higher fees are imposed. The Code confirms merchants are allowed to offer discounts for lower cost payment methods, such as cash or debit.

In addition, the Code places significant restrictions on "co-badged" debit cards which will serve to ensure Canada's does not lose its competitive advantage of low cost debit services. "Without the Code, Canada's debit marketplace may have looked a lot more like it does in the United States, where fees are ten times higher," noted Dan Kelly, CFIB's senior vice-president of legislative affairs. Visa and MasterCard will now have to market their products separately if they choose to get into the Canadian debit card business.

"The Code is a giant step forward in giving small businesses the ability to predict and control their costs," Kelly said. "We will continue to monitor the activities of the credit and debit card industry to ensure that the rules are being followed." CFIB has pledged to work with the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada and the Minister of Finance to oversee the implementation of and adherence to the Code.



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