Revamped Code of Conduct ensures Visa, MasterCard rate cuts will be Passed on to Small Merchants


Better disclosure, dispute settlement and rules for mobile payments among key wins

TORONTO – As credit card fee reductions promised by Visa and MasterCard begin to take effect later this week, Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) president Dan Kelly joined Finance Minister Joe Oliver at the Arts Market in Toronto (Monday) to announce new rules that will make sure small businesses see the promised savings.

Minister Oliver was at the small Toronto business to unveil changes to the Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry in Canada, which was created in 2010 after years of CFIB lobbying to improve fairness in the payments industry.

Key changes include: 

  • Merchants will be able to opt out of their contracts if their payment processor raises rates or doesn’t pass on savings from Visa/MasterCard;
  • The entire Code will now apply to mobile payments;
  • Payment processors can only auto-renew a contract for up to six months, so fewer merchants will be locked in to bad contracts.

“The industry and the federal government are to be commended for drafting updates to the Code that protect small businesses,” said Kelly. “Minister Oliver was a big supporter of an industry-led solution on reducing interchange fees, and these Code updates will help ensure those savings are passed on to merchants.”

The new Code also requires fees and contract terms to be disclosed more clearly, and includes a dispute resolution process.

“CFIB will continue to monitor the payments industry closely to ensure that all savings from rate reductions are passed along, and that the dispute mechanism works as it should,” added Kelly. “We’re very encouraged that the Code continues to evolve with the latest industry developments to make certain that merchants are treated fairly.”

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region.