Feb. 15, 2010

Interac denied permission to move to profit model

Interac Association is disappointed with the Competition Bureau of Canada's decision regarding its not-for-profit status but remains optimistic that further discussions can result in other variations to the Consent Order that will enable Interac Association to more effectively respond to the realities of the changing competitive debit landscape.

"We have always believed that arriving at an effective business model requires a number of changes to the Consent Order beyond a for-profit status, particularly in the areas of governance, funding and our organizational structure," stated Mark O'Connell, President and CEO, Interac Association/Acxsys Corporation. "We are pleased that the Competition Bureau will engage in discussions with us regarding these critical issues."

Since 1996, Interac Association has operated under a Consent Order. The Order can only be amended or terminated by a further Order of the Competition Tribunal. The Consent Order prescribes in detail how Interac Association is structured, how it is governed and by whom, how it sets and collects fees, and the voting levels required to approve many initiatives.

INTERAC(R) is a low-cost, world-class debit system and has served Canadians well. Millions 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. The Canadian payments marketplace, however, is undergoing significant shifts with a rapidly changing competitive landscape.

"Preserving a sustainable, domestic, low-cost debit option in today's dynamic marketplace is critical," emphasized Mr. O'Connell. "We are encouraged that the Competition Bureau has offered to work with us on other potential changes to the Order that will improve our ability to compete effectively moving forward."



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