Greater Regulation Of Canada’s Payments System Require
December 13, 2010
Evidence is mounting that Canada’s payments system is in need of further oversight. Recent failures by VISA and CIBC to adhere to the Voluntary Code of Conduct combined with continually rising merchant fees, is alarming.
“There is…an out-of-balance system where credit card companies are competing for new customers using my money.” says Dave Collins, Vice President of Halifax-based Wilson Fuels in testimony to the Senate Banking Committee on November 24, 2010. “We are concerned about dues and fees and our lack of ability to negotiate with the banks.”
The lack of negotiating power has been a key issue for merchants faced with everincreasing fees and unclear statements. The 2010 Voluntary Code was touted as a good first step by CIPMA and other organizations.
But Visa and CIBC have recently showcased practices which bring the effectiveness of the Code into question.
This helps make the case for further intervention. David Wilkes, President of the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors – another witness at the Senate Banking Committee, reiterated “The Code of Conduct certainly goes a long way…
However, because of that inherent imbalance in the competitive framework of this market, which is unique I would argue, I do not believe that you can get there without a regulated solution…”.
CIPMA continues to work with other retailer trade associations towards a framework which will right the imbalance in the Canadian payments industry such that merchants have a meaningful role in determining the fees they pay for card services.