By Jason Oxman

The Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) is a leading payments technology trade association representing more than 500 global companies. Our mission is to grow the payments industry and we serve our member companies in a variety of ways. One of our most important roles is as leader in payments technology advocacy and our job at ETA is to engage with policymakers to promote sound government policies that support innovation and growth of the payments technology industry.

We represent a global ecosystem that is fueled by innovation, and it is the job of policymakers to stay informed about industry changes and their impacts on consumers. That’s why we announced in August 2018 an expansion of our advocacy work in Canada. Guided by a committee of ETA member companies, including Moneris, First Data, Worldpay, Pivotal Payments, Paysafe, Square and Blake, Cassels & Graydon, the ETA is strengthening our efforts and building on our existing programmes focused on elevating Canadian FinTech policy. We’ve engaged a leading Canadian public affairs firm, Tactix, to give our members a stronger voice for forward-thinking policy that advances innovation and global partnerships.

Action on proposed retail payments regulations

Looking ahead the ETA and our member companies will engage public policy leaders in Canada as they look to update the laws and regulations that govern the Canadian payments ecosystem. Our focus is on promoting carefully crafted policies that are technology-neutral, device-agnostic and supportive of active industry collaboration.

As an example, we commented on the Department of Finance Canada’s A New Retail Payments Oversight Framework consultation paper that recommended new rules for the regulation of retail payments. They include requiring registration for payments service providers (PSPs) and that they place end-user funds held overnight or longer into trust accounts at financial institutions. There would also be rules that ensure payors would not be liable for unauthorized transactions unless they did so fraudulently, along with mandatory dispute resolution processes internally and externally.

However, these proposed changes could hinder competition and innovation in payments, and so ETA submitted carefully considered recommendations that put industry collaboration and innovation first. For example, we recommended that the framework of dispute resolution policies preserve the flexibility of PSPs to implement programs that fit each unique organization. This type of approach encourages a policy environment that allows payments companies to avoid being trapped in one-size-fits-all procedures. That way, policymakers can support access and benefits to consumers without disrupting or burdening tested, efficient models.

Collaboration with other advocates

Ultimately, our Canadian public policy efforts mean that ETA can bring its collective expertise, insight and influence in the global payments technology ecosystem to help promote policies which will grow payments in Canada. We are proud to have a network of thousands of industry professionals, plus an established history of industry leadership expertise, to bolster our voice and credibility for policymakers. Our mission is informed and supported at step one by our drive to grow payments technology, and so too will that be the focus of our work in Canada.

But we know we are not in it alone. As our work expands in Canada, we look forward to collaborating with other trade associations, such as our longtime partner ACT Canada, as well as industry advocates and businesses to find innovative and novel ways to grow safe, fast and secure payments for Canadian merchants and consumers.

It’s an exciting time in the payments technology world. FinTech innovation is bringing the next era of payments technology to the global marketplace. The ETA, as the voice of the payments industry, will continue to advocate in Canada, the U.S. and across the world to support policies that promote its growth.

Jason Oxman is CEO, Electronic Transactions Association (www.electran.org).

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