Ottawa, November 12, 2013 — Guidance issued by the Commissioner of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) that is taking effect today clarifies the rights of merchants and others who accept credit and debit payments...[more]
Great Strides for our Merchant Community!
HOW WILL THIS AFFECT YOUR RETAIL BUSINESS?
Your Feedback Helped Us Put More Vigour in the Code – FCAC Listened & Acted
On February 13, 2013, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) released a Guidance document stating that it had observed three issues within the payment card industry which it believed were not in line with key principles set out in certain elements of the Code.
New principles have been established and the FCAC expects the payment card network operators and their participants, including independent sales organizations (ISOs) and other service providers (e.g. processing, terminal leasing) to take measures to promptly address the issues identified to ensure merchants are able to benefit fully from the key principles included in the Code. It is giving the payments industry up to November 12, 2013 to put the appropriate measures in place to better protect merchants.
Following vigourous lobbying by merchants, Retail Council of Canada (RCC) and our coalition of over 225,000 businesses from coast to coast, the Government of Canada introduced in April 2010 the new Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry. The Code was developed to provide greater transparency for retailers and consumers who accept and/or use credit and debit cards and to enhance fairness, clarity and choice within the credit and debit card industry.
While RCC advocated for regulations (not a voluntary Code) to stop credit card companies, issuing banks and acquirers from gouging merchants with unjustifiable and ever-increasing fees, we undertook to monitor the Code with merchants to ensure adherence and to identify concerns. RCC also made sure that the new Code had a provision that allowed merchants to refuse Visa or MasterCard debit products in their stores even if they accepted their credit card products. This was a great victory for merchants as it ensured they could continue to benefit from low flat fee Interac Debit services.
Once the Code was introduced, the Government gave the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) the mandate to monitor the credit and debit card payments industry’s adherence to the Code.
FCAC listened to our Merchant Community:
What Does This Mean For Merchants?
- You told us about inappropriate sales and business practices by some in the payment card industry which often resulted in you not being aware of all the costs associated with the contract you ultimately signed - and FCAC heard you loud and clear.
- You told us that you often found it impossible to figure out what you were committing to when signing a contract with an acquirer because it obligated you to other services and service providers without your full understanding – and FCAC heard you loud and clear.
- You also told us that these contracts included other contracts or obligations for related services (e.g. processing, terminal leasing, etc…) which had different cancellation clauses, penalties, fees and costs and which were impossible for understand – and FCAC heard you loud and clear.
Useful Merchant Information & Links
What where the Changes to the Code requested by Retail Council of Canada on behalf of Merchants?
Read Retail Council of Canada’s submission (November 2012) regarding your concerns and needed changes to the Code.