Senator Ringuette urges government to create level playing field with European trading partners by limiting credit card acceptance fees

OTTAWA – Senator Pierrette Ringuette’ s bill, S-202 An Act to amend the Payment Card Networks Act (credit card acceptance fees), is expected to come before the Senate Standing Committee on Banking, Trade, and Commerce this spring.

The bill follows the model used in Australia to limit credit card acceptance fees, which can currently exceed 3% in Canada. The bill sets limits at 0.5% for standard transactions, 0.3% for government, and 0% for charities. Limits have been put in place in jurisdictions around the world, including an even lower limit of 0.3% in European Union countries.

Credit card acceptance fees are charged to the merchant when a credit card is used by a consumer. These fees are charged as a percentage of the total transaction cost.

The excessive fees increase costs for merchants and these costs get passed on through higher prices for all consumers regardless of their method of payment.

“I have tabled bill after bill, one every session, since 2008 to limit excessive merchant fees and finally we are moving forward. These fees cost Canadian merchants and consumers over $5 billion annually, which is over $30 billion since I first pushed for action” said Senator Ringuette.

“It is unacceptable that politics and partisan interests have caused years of undue delay, this is harming Canadian businesses and consumers, costing us upwards of $18 million a day. It is also unacceptable that the Canadian government would sign onto a free trade agreement with the European Union and not give our merchants and consumers a level playing field. While my bill is based on the Australian model, I am open and prepared to change the bill to match our standards with those of our new free trade partners in Europe.”