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Senator Pierrette Ringuette Continues Fight To Regulate Credit Card Acceptance Fees

For Immediate Release


October 3rd,  2014


Senator Pierrette Ringuette Continues Fight To Regulate Credit Card Acceptance Fees


OTTAWA – On Wednesday evening, VISA and MasterCard appeared before the Senate Standing Committee on Banking Trade and Commerce to answer questions on Senator Pierrette Ringuette’s bill S-202, An Act to amend the Payment Card Networks Act (credit card acceptance fees).

Credit card acceptance fees are charged to the merchant when a credit card is used by a customer. Bill S-202 seeks to place reasonable limits on those fees.

Canada has some of the highest acceptance fees in the world. These fees can be upwards of 3% of the total purchase amount and apply to virtually all transactions including those with governments, universities, and charities.

During the committee, Senator Ringuette noted that the European Commission has passed regulations to limit these rates at 0.3%, which is 90% lower than the fees paid in Canada. Many other countries have placed limits on acceptance fees as well, including Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.

The excessive fees in Canada cost Canadian merchants and consumers well over $5 billion annually.

The European Commission Vice President supported their action to limit fees stating that;


This regulation will first and foremost benefit consumers. Today, consumers pay for payment services in a hidden way, through inflated retail prices. This needs to change. We want consumers to be able to make conscious choices about the payment instruments they use, weighing the costs and benefits of these instruments for them.


I am aware that there are vested interests which have been fighting the idea of limiting interchange fees, trying to scare consumers that the impact of the regulation would be higher cardholder fees and no decrease in retail prices. However, there is every reason to believe that consumers will benefit from the disappearance of a hidden cost on their bills, since retailers compete on transparent retail prices.


The changes in Europe followed a decade of court challenges against VISA and MasterCard.

As Senator Ringuette said; “Canadians cannot accept less from your organization (VISA and MasterCard) with regard to fees than the Australian merchants and consumers or the 28 European countries' merchants and consumers. “

Senator Ringuette also pointed out, this issue has been looked at by the Canadian Competition Tribunal in a case against VISA and MasterCard for uncompetitive practices and they determined that a regulatory approach would likely be required to address the situation.

Video and transcript of the committee meeting can be found at;


For more information:


Tim Rosenburgh

Office of Senator Pierrette Ringuette

(613) 943-2248