Enhanced Credit and Debit Card Code Released, Empowering Merchants and Consumers with Greater Choice and Control

Retail Council of Canada is pleased to have been a driving force in today’s long-awaited announcement of enhancements to the Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry in Canada.

These updates to the Code deal with the arrival of smartphone/contactless payments, provide greater certainty that reductions in interchange rates will indeed be passed through to merchants, enable merchant choice in which payment forms to accept and also create a new path for dispute resolution in the payments industry.

“With contactless cards already in market and smartphone payments the wave of the future, the modernization of the Code is vital and something that we have been pursuing on behalf of retailers in Canada,” said Diane J. Brisebois, President of Retail Council of Canada. “I am delighted that merchants will have full choice in which networks and payment methods to accept,” added Ms. Brisebois.

Taken together with the network interchange reductions announced in December 2014, today’s announcement also helps to ensure that payment processors will pass on these reduced rates to merchants. While we see this as real progress, even with these reduced rates Canadian retailers are still paying some of the highest credit card fees in the world. For example, in the European Union, interchange rates are one-fifth of the average level paid by merchants in Canada. These costs are ultimately borne by all consumers whether they are paying with cash, debit or credit. RCC intends to continue to press for deeper cuts to bring interchange in line with the fees charged elsewhere.

The Voice of Retail in Canada since 1963, RCC members operate more than 45,000 storefronts and employ over one million Canadian in communities across the country. More than three quarters of all consumer goods and groceries sold in Canada are sold by RCC members. RCC represent all retail formats: department, grocery, specialty, discount, independent stores, and online merchants and is the leading voice for retailers in Canada.

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