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Parliamentary hearings to probe VISA/MasterCard gouging


March 24, 2009
By CNW Group Ltd.

March 24, 2009, Ottawa – The "Stop Sticking It To Us" Coalition,
representing over 200,000 Canadian businesses, small, mid and large, is
gathering in Ottawa this week to combat overcharging by VISA and
MasterCard.

The "Stop Sticking It To Us" Coalition, representing over 200,000
Canadian businesses, small, mid and large, is gathering in Ottawa this
week to combat overcharging by VISA and MasterCard. Speaking on behalf
of the Coalition, Retail Council of Canada President, Diane J.
Brisebois said, "The credit card companies are pushing to take over
debit transactions and hike credit card service charges. That's bad for
merchants, and bad for consumers. At a time when governments are asking
Canadians to stimulate the economy by spending on goods and services,
credit card companies skimming more off the top is not helping our
economic recovery."

The U.S.-based credit card companies have been pushing worldwide to
take over the debit card business and increase service charges on
credit card transactions. In the United States, for example, Visa and
MasterCard now control over 75% of the debit card market. U.S.
merchants and customers pay heavily for the card company's dominance of
that market. A large retailer with stores in the U.S. reports it pays
70 cents on an average U.S. transaction. In contrast, the smallest
retailer in RCC's Canadian program pays 7 cents – a differential of
900%.

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In the past year, skyrocketing credit card fees and VISA/MasterCard
domination of the debit card business have emerged as major issues in
the United States, Australia and the U.K.

"Now the struggle is coming to Canada," said Brisebois. Parliamentary
hearings on the issue are being conducted by both the House Committee
on Industry and the Senate Banking Committee. "We're encouraged that
both government and opposition committee members are willing to look
into this," added Brisebois. "We are optimistic that the parliamentary
examinations will turn into government action to protect consumers and
merchants from ballooning credit card company fees and charges.
Protecting our Made-in-Canada, not-for-profit debit card system is a
key objective for our over 200,000 members and for consumers who don't
want to pay more simply to access their own money."

About the Stop Sticking It To Us Coalition

The StopStickingItToUs Coalition is a group of Canadian associations,
led by Retail Council of Canada and backed by over 200,000 businesses
from coast-to-coast, that is standing up to the Big Credit Card
Companies to put a stop to skyrocketing fees.


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