Canadian Vending

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Parliamentary Hearings to probe VISA/MasterCard gouging


March 30, 2009
By CNW Group

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March 29, 2009 – The "Stop Sticking It To Us" Coalition, representing over 200,000 Canadian businesses, small, mid and large, is gathering in Ottawa this week to combat overcharging by VISA and MasterCard.

The "Stop Sticking It To Us" Coalition, representing over 200,000 Canadian businesses, small, mid and large, is gathering in Ottawa this week to combat overcharging by VISA and MasterCard.

Speaking on behalf of the Coalition, Retail Council of Canada President, Diane J. Brisebois said, "The credit card companies are pushing to take over debit transactions and hike credit card service charges. That's bad for merchants, and bad for consumers. At a time when governments are asking Canadians to stimulate the economy by spending on goods and services, credit card companies skimming more off the top is not helping our economic recovery."

The U.S.-based credit card companies have been pushing worldwide to take over the debit card business and increase service charges on credit card transactions. In the United States, for example, Visa and MasterCard now control over 75% of the debit card market. U.S. merchants and customers pay heavily for the card company's dominance of that market. A large retailer with stores in the U.S. reports it pays 70 cents on an average U.S. transaction. In contrast, the smallest retailer in RCC's Canadian program pays 7 cents – a differential of 900%.

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In the past year, skyrocketing credit card fees and VISA/MasterCard domination of the debit card business have emerged as major issues in the United States, Australia and the U.K.

"Now the struggle is coming to Canada," said Brisebois. Parliamentary hearings on the issue are being conducted by both the House Committee on Industry and the Senate Banking Committee. "We're encouraged that both government and opposition committee members are willing to look into this," added Brisebois. "We are optimistic that the parliamentary examinations will turn into government action to protect consumers and merchants from ballooning credit card company fees and charges. Protecting our Made-in-Canada, not-for-profit debit card system is a key objective for our over 200,000
members and for consumers who don't want to pay more simply to access their own money."

About the Stop Sticking It To Us Coalition

The StopStickingItToUs Coalition is a group of Canadian associations, led by Retail Council of Canada and backed by over 200,000 businesses from coast-to-coast, that is standing up to the Big Credit Card Companies to put a stop to skyrocketing fees.

Coalition members include:

Retail Council of Canada, Alberta Liquor Store Association, Canadian Booksellers Association, Canadian Convenience Stores Association, Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors, Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers, Canadian Jewellers Association, Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association, Hotel Association of Canada, Ontario Accommodation Association, Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association, Retail B.C, The Canadian Independent Petroleum Marketers Association, The British Columbia Restaurant and Food Services Association, The Retail Merchant's Association of Canada (Ontario). Wine Council of Ontario, Mega Group Inc. Bicycle Trade Association of Canada, Canadian Oil Heat Association, Conseil québécois du commerce de détail, Camping in Ontario, Tourism Industry Association of Canada Canadian Association of Chain Drugstores.

About Retail Council of Canada

Retail Council of Canada (RCC) has been the Voice of Retail in Canada since 1963. We speak for an industry that touches the daily lives of Canadians in every corner of the country – by providing jobs, career opportunities, and by investing in the communities we serve.

RCC is a not-for-profit, industry-funded association representing more than 40,000 store fronts of all retail formats across Canada, including department, specialty, discount, and independent stores, and online merchants.

RCC is a strong advocate for retailing in Canada and works with all levels of government and other stakeholders to support employment growth and career opportunities in retail, to promote and sustain retail investments in communities from coast-to-coast, and to enhance consumer choice and industry competitiveness. RCC also provides its members with a full range of services and programs including education and training, benchmarking and best practices, networking, advocacy, and industry information.


For further information: Mark Beazley, Director, Communications at (416) 922-0553 ext. 228 or mbeazley@retailcouncil.org