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Debit and credit card code of conduct now in effect


August 16, 2010
By Amanda Ryder


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creditcard2NEWS HIGHLIGHT

Debit and credit card code of conduct now in effect
The federal code of conduct for Canada's debit
and credit card markets announced by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty in
April came into effect this week.

Aug. 16, 2010 – The federal code of conduct for Canada's debit
and credit card markets announced by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty in
April came into effect this week. The code has been adopted by all payment card
networks, including American Express Canada, THE EXCHANGE ATM network,
Interac, MasterCard Canada and Visa Canada.

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The Payments Accountability Council (PAC), led by Retail Council of
Canada (RCC), the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors (CCGD) and
backed by more than 250,000 Canadian merchants will monitor, through
member feedback, compliance with the code. Failures to comply will be
reported to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC), the
government mandated watchdog monitoring the implementation of the code.

"Minister Flaherty and the Government of Canada deserve a great deal of
credit for taking this critical step toward developing a Canadian
payments system that is competitive, fair and provides clarity for both
merchants and customers," says Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO,
Retail Council of Canada and co-chair of the Payments Accountability
Council. "Though our members continue to believe a robust regulatory
framework is necessary for Canada's debit and credit card markets, the
code represents much needed incremental progress. We will be keeping a
close eye on the industry to make sure the code is being followed in
good faith."

FCAC's Role in Monitoring the Code

Under the Payment Card Networks Act, the FCAC has been given
responsibility for monitoring the implementation of the code of conduct
and payment card network operators' ongoing adherence to it. To do so,
FCAC will monitor issues raised by consumers and merchants and work
with payment card networks to resolve them. The Agency will report to
the Minister of Finance at least annually on adherence to the code of
conduct.

Merchants who believe that their rights under the code of conduct have
not been respected may also contact FCAC by telephone at
1-866-461-3222. If it appears that there is non-compliance with the
code, FCAC will investigate and will follow up with the payment card
network.

For almost two years, retailers, grocers and other service sector
businesses from coast-to-coast have been advocating for government
measures to increase clarity, transparency and choice in a payments
system controlled by only a few major players.

Minister Flaherty has committed to regulate the conduct of the credit
card companies, banks and processors involved in Canada's payments
system if they do not adhere to the voluntary code.

The PAC remains focused on three key principles needed in the Canadian payments system:

    –   The need to provide clarity – for consumers and merchants
    –   The need to provide merchants with effective tools to manage costs
        associated with debit and credit cards
    –   The need to ensure that the costs built into the system through
        loyalty and other programs are paid for by those who introduce and
        benefit from these programs


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