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$18 Million a day in excessive credit card acceptance fees cost Canadian merchants and consumers

For Immediate Release


February 19th, 2013

 $18 Million a day in excessive credit card acceptance fees cost Canadian merchants and consumers


OTTAWA - Since Senator Pierrette Ringuette introduce her bill, S-215 An Act to amend the Payment Card Networks Act (credit card acceptance fees) last December, VISA and MasterCard have been in the giving spirit, both have given merchants significant boosts to the fees charged to them on each credit card transaction.


VISA gave merchants and Canadians a Christmas stocking full of coal with an announcement of a 30% increase in fees as of April 1st.


MasterCard followed suit with a new year’s surprise of a 20% increase in their fees.


VISA’s net revenues rose 13% last year to $10.6 billion and just last quarter MasterCard recorded a net revenue increase of 10% to $1.9 billion. In fact VISA and MasterCard have increased net revenues every year despite a devastating global recession.


At a time when Canadian businesses and consumers are still recovering, credit card companies are imposing higher and higher fees while raking in higher and higher profits.


Given the obvious financial health of VISA and MasterCard, how do they justify yet another cash grab from our merchants and citizens?


Other jurisdictions around the world have addressed these skyrocketing fees including Australia and parts of Europe, like the U.K.


As Senator Ringuette notes; “I have been speaking to merchants across Canada and hear the same story over and over again, margins for retailers in Canada are already razor thin, and I would emphasize, all consumers, end up paying more, regardless as whether they pay with cash or plastic.


If we limited fees as Australia did in 2006 and as I propose in my bill, it could save               $7 billion a year. That means that every day that we allow these excessive fees to continue it costs Canadians $18 million. Since I tabled the bill on December 11th, these excessive fees have totaled over $1.2 billion out of the pockets of SMEs, public services, non-profits, and all Canadian consumers.


By not acting to curtail this abuse, by staying silent, the government in indirectly agreeing with these excessive fees imposed by big business.  


Credit cards have become a standard method of payment, a digital currency as the head of VISA Canada called it. They have a dramatic influence on our economy and the government has the obligation and the mandate to regulate and ensure the health of our economy for all Canadians, not just a couple of international corporations.


We must act now; I urge the government to fast track bill S-215 and finally bring much needed fairness to the credit card system in Canada.”




Tim Rosenburgh

Office of Senator Pierrette Ringuette

(613) 943-2248