RCC code of conduct for payment cards

November 20, 2009
Nov. 20, 2009 – Retail Council of Canada (RCC), The Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors (CCGD) and the StopStickingItToUs Coalition, representing more than 250,000 businesses commend the Government of Canada for the introduction of a Code of Conduct to govern the Canadian debit and credit card markets. The announcement of the Code is an important step toward ensuring merchant choice, enhanced competition and greater transparency in a marketplace dominated by only a few large companies.

RCC, CCGD and its Coalition partners believe that the success of the Code will depend heavily on both implementation and compliance, and therefore today announced the establishment of the Payments Accountability Council (PAC), which will provide input to the consultation process and ultimately, report on compliance with the Code.

"Minister Flaherty deserves a great deal of credit for tackling this important and complex issue, and merchants across Canada appreciate the introduction of the Code," says Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO, Retail Council of Canada. "Properly implemented, the Code will keep the card companies' feet to the fire with their business practices and our coalition will be holding them publicly accountable."

"The Code is a solid starting point as government begins to address merchant concerns and to avoid skyrocketing costs for debit and credit card transactions," says Dave Wilkes, Senior Vice President, Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors. "It has the potential to impose some price discipline on the card companies, and will force them to compete for merchants' business for the first time, creating a measure of cost-certainty for our members."

RCC, CCGD and its Coalition advocated strongly for real merchant choice, both in transaction routing and card acceptance. Merchants are particularly pleased to see the inclusion of two important measures to address these demands in the announcement:

    -  On each transaction, merchants will be enabled to choose the least
       expensive method for processing.
    -  Merchants will have complete choice of whether or not to offer credit
       and/or debit products from any card brand.

While the establishment of a Code is an important milestone for merchants and the communities they serve, its success depends on the response of the card companies, banks and processors.

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