|In addition to rising credit card fees, there are growing concerns about Interac, Canada’s national debit service. Interac has applied to the Competition Bureau to allow for its restructuring into a for-profit entity and could see the market move to a percentage fee (similar to the model now used by credit card companies). As with recent credit cards changes, business owners could see their operational costs increase overnight, with no value-added service. CRFA has expressed the industry’s concerns to the Competition Bureau and will continue to oppose this change with other officials in Ottawa.|
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About the credit card fee issue
(Jan. 16/09) In 2008, many Canadian restaurant and foodservices operators saw credit card processing fees rise as a result of a complex new fee system introduced by Visa and MasterCard.
At the same time, credit card companies introduced new “premium” cards that carry an even higher processing fee for merchants, aggressively transitioned cardholders from their lower-fee cards to these premium cards, and introduced higher processing fees for some high-spending cardholders. For foodservice operators, these changes have meant higher and less predictable credit card processing fees – with no relief in sight.
What CRFA is doing
In response to member concerns, CRFA continues to negotiate with vendors to get the best possible credit card rates through the association’s partnership with Global Payments. When Visa and MasterCard pushed through higher fees for all Canadian payment processors, including Global Payments, CRFA aggressively fought for the lowest possible rate increases.
Last fall, CRFA joined the Stop Sticking It To Us Coalition, a group of Canadian associations representing more than 120,000 businesses that have joined forces to put a stop to skyrocketing credit card fees. Using the coalition’s website, Canadian merchants have sent more than 2,000 messages of concern to members of Parliament.
CRFA is also meeting with government officials and is urging federal authorities to provide greater oversight of credit card fees to ensure that they are fair, predictable and transparent. In recent months, support has come from Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach who, in a letter to the federal Minister of Finance, called on the government to regulate credit card fees as part of the 2009 budget. In addition, Senator Pierrette Ringuette has tabled a motion to have the Senate review credit card fees.
How you can help
There are a number of ways that CRFA members can join in the effort: