Canadian small and independent businesses stand up to credit card companies

September 11, 2008
The Retail Council of Canada (RCC) and a coalition of like-minded associations have launched "www.StopStickingItToUs.com", a national campaign against Big Credit Card companies and the banks that issue their cards that have been imposing skyrocketing hidden credit card fees on all Canadians.

Over the next few weeks, RCC will be asking small businesses and
Canadians to stand up and tell the Big Credit Card companies and the banks that issue their cards to stop sticking it to us.

"Interchange fees", represent an enormous cost for average Canadians and any organization that accepts payment by credit card - merchants, charities, schools, restaurants, hotels, government services and others. The average Canadian household pays hundreds of dollars a year in interchange fees without even knowing it as they are a hidden portion of the cost of virtually every transaction they make.

A new poll conducted by Nanos Research on behalf of Retail Council of Canada found that:
  • 55 per cent of Canadians had a poor understand of the fees associated with credit cards.
  • 63 per cent of Canadians believe that credit card fees are increasing with no noticeable increase in value.
  • 77 per cent of Canadians believe that credit card companies are not full transparent in explaining their fees for credit cards
Nearly $2 of every $100 Canadians spend using credit cards goes directly to the Big Credit Card companies and their issuing banks. Canada is one of the few industrialized countries in the world that doesn't regulate these fees, which is why they are among the highest in the world - and they continue to escalate.

"Big Credit Card companies and their banks are taking advantage of local retailers, businesses and all Canadians by exploiting loopholes that keep the true cost of skyrocketing fees from the average consumer," says Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO of Retail Council of Canada. "Our coalition is seeking government action and will be calling on political candidates to take a stance on what their position on this issue is."

These unregulated and skyrocketing fees are of particular concern in the current period of economic softening in Canada, when consumers and businesses are pressured to be increasingly cost-conscious.

"Canadians pay among the highest credit card fees in the world," says Brisebois. "Retailers and other business are not opposed to paying fees, as long as they correspond to the actual cost of the service that is rendered. Big Credit Card companies and the banks issuing their cards are out of control and their practices need to be regulated."

As an alternative to credit cards, Canadian merchants have long trusted Interac to deliver an efficient, transparent and low-cost debit card system. Now that system is in jeopardy. Interac is planning to re-structure in order to become a private/public company like the foreign-owned credit card providers, Visa and MasterCard. The anticipated result a higher fee for merchants and all Canadians who use debit cards.

StopStickingItToUs Coalition members include:

Retail Council of Canada
Alberta Liquor Stores Association
Canadian Booksellers Association
Canadian Convenience Stores Association
Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors
Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers
Canadian Jewellers Association
Conseil Quebecois du commerce de detail (Quebec Retail Council)
Ontario Accommodation Association
Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association
Retail B.C.
The Hotel Association of Canada

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