ACTA's fight for small retailers to get break from exorbitant credit-card fees

Gary Sands,
There was a deafening silence from larger players in the business community after the recent announcement that a truce on credit card “swipe fees” had been reached between Visa Inc. and Wal-Mart Canada Corp. This is, without doubt, because other corporate giants will now be lining up to demand similar treatment from Visa.

Once again, this underscores the huge disadvantage for small- and medium-sized businesses in Canada on the issue of credit card swipe fees, paid by the merchant for every transaction involving a consumer and their credit card.

These fees in Canada are, inexplicably, among the highest in the world. While Wal-Mart was correct in raising a public alarm about the fees the company pays, it is widely accepted that these fees have a far greater impact on small business owners. And not a single small business in Canada has the leverage of a Wal-Mart to negotiate the same rates paid by U.S. corporate entities.

This topic has been very close to the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA) through our involvement with the Small Business Matters (SBM) Coalition. The coalition, composed of a number of trade associations representing more than 100,000 Canadian businesses, came together to amplify the voice in the debate of exorbitant credit card fees. We believe that Canadian small-business owners and consumers need a policy that provides fairness, transparency and realistic fees in our payments industry. FULL STORY