TORONTO – The Toronto-based Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) declared a small victory for one of its recent lobbying efforts, when it welcomed the recent announcement, made yesterday by Minister of Finance James Flaherty, of a new code of conduct for credit and debit card companies.
“This is an important step in addressing concerns of our members about unfair business practices,” said CRFA president and CEO, Garth Whyte. “Our members are unhappy about current credit card fees and rules that are costly to their customers and businesses, and they are confused and anxious about the roll-out of new Visa and MasterCard debit cards.”
The code won’st be finalized before early next year, but it is designed to give merchants more flexibility about payment options they offer consumers. “The proposed code is based on ongoing discussions with merchant and consumer associations, debit and credit card networks, payment processors and credit card issuers across Canada,” said Flaherty. “The proposed code would encourage choice and competition in the credit and debit market for the benefit of consumers and merchants. It would help ensure accountability and prevent unfair practices.”
Unfortunately for the CRFA, the new code is not expected to lower the interest rates consumers pay on their credit cards. Nevertheless, the restaurant association has been calling on the Feds to provide greater oversight of the credit and debit card payment systems in Canada to ensure fees charged to merchants are reasonable, predictable, transparent, linked to costs and exclude expenses of cardholder enrichments. It has long held that in countries such as England, the rates charged by credit card companies to merchants for transactions is much lower.
The CRFA says it expects to take part in the consultation process regarding the new code and will continue to monitor its implementation to ensure compliance by all parties involved.