July 23, 2013

Ottawa must intervene to address credit card company practices, CCSA says

OAKVILLE--The Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA) is disappointed that the Competition Tribunal dismissed the case filed by the Commissioner of Competition that sought to address the practices of Visa and MasterCard toward merchants in Canada. Convenience store retailers in Canada had entertained great hopes that the Tribunal would give merchants the power to limit Visa and MasterCard from continuing practices that allowed them to charge some of the highest credit card rates in the world.

"Although the decision was not what the CCSA was hoping for, the Tribunal's analysis did recognize the adverse impact Visa and MasterCard's practices had on competition," said CCSA President, Alex Scholten. "The Tribunal went further and suggested a regulatory solution."

According to a 2012 study by the CCSA, the average Canadian convenience store owner pays credit card fees of more than $36,000 annually (totaling more than $825 million annually for the industry). "Our retailers and consumers are paying for these excessive costs," said Scholten.

The Federal Government's Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry seeks to regulate the practices of credit card issuers but it has done little to address the issue of excessive credit card fees charged to Canadian merchants (currently among the highest in the world). "Eliminating the excessiveness of these fees would save Canada's merchants billions of dollars annually. These savings could be passed on to Canadian consumers, thereby increasing their purchasing power and stimulating the economy," said Scholten.

"The CCSA is asking the Federal Government to work with merchants to develop a regulatory framework that would address the unfair practices of the credit card companies as governments in other countries have done."

The Canadian Convenience Stores Association is a not-for-profit organization representing the business interests of Canada's convenience store industry. The mission of the association is to help ensure an economically viable and sustainable business environment for members by serving the best interests of Canada's convenience store operators and consumers alike through advocacy, advice, education and training.



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