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Clarification on credit and debit code of conduct


February 13, 2013
By Canadian Garden Centre & Nursery

Feb. 13, 2013, Ottawa — The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) commissioner has issued a guidance document clarifying the Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry in Canada.

The commissioner’s guidance
applies to payment card network operators (PCNOs) that operate in
Canada and their participants, including independent sales organizations
and other service providers (e.g. processing or terminal leasing).

“The
code was created with the intention of encouraging choice and
competition, while also helping merchants control their costs and
allowing them to pass on savings to their customers,” said Ursula Menke,
FCAC commissioner. “I believe that the code has helped merchants
understand the costs and benefits associated with credit and debit
cards. However, over the past year, we have seen certain practices by
some in the industry that undermine the letter and spirit of the code.”

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The
guidance document, released today, is meant to help merchants, PCNOs,
card issuers and acquirers better understand their obligations by
offering clarification on:

  • inappropriate sales and business practices
  • disclosure to merchants in multiple provider agreements
  • multiple contract cancellation penalties, costs or fees

Menke
noted that the guidance document addresses these issues by “providing
better disclosure to merchants and eliminating inappropriate sales and
business practices that result in increased costs for merchants” and
consumers.

The Retail Council of Canada (RCC) welcomed the commissioner’s announcement. The association had been calling for the FCAC to examine specific areas where the code was being ignored or undermined.

“We
are particularly pleased that the commissioner addressed RCC’s concerns
that the code of conduct for the payment card industry was being
undermined by inappropriate sales and business practices,” said Diane J.
Brisebois, president and CEO of RCC.

The commissioner’s guidance
was developed through consultation with merchant associations and the
credit and debit card industry. The PCNOs have publicly committed to the
code and have 90 days to implement the commissioner’s findings into
their operating rules.

“I fully expect that the PCNOs will
continue to work with FCAC to ensure that the code and this guidance are
adhered to within each of their networks,” said Menke.

The Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry in Canada
was introduced in April 2010. It was developed with the industry to
help promote greater transparency for Canadian merchants and consumers
who use credit and debit cards. FCAC is responsible for monitoring
adherence to the code.


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