(Nov. 5/14) Two weeks ago, Restaurants Canada met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other Members of Parliament to discuss issues that affect our members. One of the key topics we raised was credit card fees, because 93 per cent of our members told us they are “very concerned” about rising fees on credit card transactions.
Yesterday, we had a huge breakthrough as Visa and MasterCard announced they would reduce credit card interchange fees over five years. Both companies have agreed to lower their fees to an average effective rate of 1.5%, which represents a reduction in credit card fees of about 10%.
The Minister of Finance has indicated the proposals will:
- ensure all merchants receive a reduction in credit card fees;
- provide a greater reduction for small- and medium-sized businesses and charities, which have the least amount of bargaining power; and
- require annual verification by an independent third party to ensure compliance.
The details are still being ironed out, but this is good news as members can expect to see their credit card fees go down, not up.
We spoke with the President of MasterCard, who acknowledged the pressure from Restaurants Canada to bring about this voluntary accord. Our action is getting results and this is a good first step, but more needs to be done. We will keep pushing for lower fees. Our members’ ongoing support and feedback has given us the clout we need to keep up the pressure on this important issue.