Friday, March 4, 2011

Small business asks consumers to help battle high credit card fees by paying with Interac or cash

OTTAWA, March 3, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has launched a major campaign to inform consumers about the high cost of credit card merchant fees and ask them to consider paying with Interac or cash instead. CFIB, the organization responsible for the concept of the Federal Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry, is equipping its 108,000 member-businesses with signs to be placed at cash registers and tables across the country that promote the benefits of those other forms of payment.

"This consumer campaign is the next big step in a two year fight with credit card companies and banks on the rising cost of accepting credit cards," said Dan Kelly, CFIB's senior vice-president of legislative affairs. "Most consumers are unaware that each time their credit card is swiped, the merchant pays between 1.5 to 3 per cent of the sale to the credit card company, while an Interac debit transaction costs less than 12 cents."

"Our aim here is to make consumers aware of the higher processing fees their local merchants have to pay in order to process transactions using credit cards - particularly new higher cost premium credit cards like Visa Infinite or MasterCard World Elite," explained Kelly. "While consumers may enjoy getting extra points for using their credit cards, few realize that these cards cost merchants a fortune - resulting in higher prices to cover those costs."

"We aren't saying not to use credit cards," Kelly clarified. "What we are saying, though, is that we believe consumers may make a different choice given the right information about the impact each form of payment has on their favourite drycleaner or local café. Most Canadians are very supportive of local, independent businesses and may be happy to choose another payment method to help keep costs down."

The Competition Bureau recently found that Canada's credit card costs were among the highest in the world. "CFIB believes that if credit card companies and banks see even a tiny shift in credit card transactions as a result of this campaign, it will cause them to rethink their fee strategy for smaller merchants," Kelly concluded.

More information and copies of the point-of-sale signs are available on CFIB's special credit-debit website This website also contains a video and an explanation of the size and scope of the credit card cost challenge facing merchants in Canada.

As Canada's largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses, CFIB is Powered by Entrepreneurs™. Established in 1971, CFIB takes direction from more than 108,000 members in every sector nationwide, giving independent business a strong and influential voice at all levels of government and helping to grow the economy.

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