CFIB Victory – Credit Card Code of Conduct Now Official!

On April 16, 2010, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced a finalized Code of Conduct for the credit and debit card industry that will come into effect in August 2010. This Code, which very closely resembles the Code put forward by CFIB in mid-2009, will help increase transparency and restore fairness to small businesses and consumers in their credit and debit card transactions.

Principles in the Code:

  • Requirements for more transparency and disclosure of information regarding the cost of transactions
  • Proper notice provisions to merchants about contract changes and an ability to exit a contract without penalty
  • Issuance of premium cards only on request
  • Ability for merchants to offer a variety of discounts for cash or debit
  • Provision banning competitive co-badged cards
  • Disallowing negative optioning

As the Code was released BMO and MasterCard announced that they will be disabling MasterCard's debit option, Maestro, on all BMO debit cards currently in Canada. These cards will continue to work on Maestro networks overseas, but will no longer re-route debit purchases in Canada through MasterCard's network at the expense of Interac.

Our two year fight for fairness has been heard thanks to our members support in filling out more than 45,000 petitions, and we have already seen changes in the industry due to the Code.

We will continue to monitor the industry's activities to ensure that the Code of Conduct is working for merchants as it should and do what we can to make sure that low-cost debit remains an option in Canada.