Small businesses call on Visa, Mastercard, government to lower credit card processing rates to no more than 1 per cent of the sale
by CM staff
New petition calls for immediate action to lower fees.
TORONTO — With credit card usage rising due to the pandemic, growing online shopping and tight consumer budgets, small merchants are urging the federal government and the payments industry to move quickly to deliver on the Fall Economic Statement’s promise to lower processing fees for small business.
Nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) of small businesses said that they want to see credit card processing fees drop to no more than 1 per cent of the total dollar sale, according to a new survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). This would require interchange rates for small firms to be set at 0.7 per cent or less – half of the current average of 1.4 per cent.
CFIB research shows most (81 per cent) small businesses take a hit to their bottom line to cover the costs of accepting credit cards. Yet, many small merchants feel they have no choice but to continue accepting credit cards if they want to attract and retain customers and grow their business.
“While a handful of large multinationals can get special deals, small firms aren’t able to negotiate lower interchange rates on their own,” said Dan Kelly, CFIB president. “Ensuring that smaller merchants can access lower rates – including for ecommerce – is key to relieving some cost pressures, encouraging more small businesses to sell online and levelling the playing field with larger firms.”
“As the spring budget approaches, CFIB is calling on Ottawa to quickly deliver on its promise to work with the industry in negotiating a better deal for small business,” Kelly added.
CFIB’s recommendations to the federal government and Visa and Mastercard on ways to lower credit card fees include:
- Lowering merchant fees to no more than 1 per cent of the total sale,
- Ensuring fees for e-commerce are kept low to allow small firms to compete online,
- Protecting low-cost Interac debit and the Code of Conduct.
“Business owners want to do what they do best: run their business. With the increased cost of doing business and lack of staff, they don’t have the capacity and time to deal with confusing rules and rates that make it impossible to compare between different processors,” said Corinne Pohlmann, Senior Vice-President of National Affairs at CFIB. “Any changes made to credit card fees should be kept simple and help small firms better understand the rates they pay.”
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