Merchants set to gain more power on credit card costs

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For many years, CFIB has been a powerful force in negotiating with government and the credit card industry to ensure independent businesses in Canada get a fair and transparent deal on payment processing. 

The latest good news for small businesses across Canada: merchants will soon have the power to surcharge consumers who choose to pay with Visa or Mastercard.

What It Means for Your Business

On June 14, 2017, Visa and Mastercard announced future plans to allow merchants to apply some surcharges to credit card transactions. This new power is not in place at this time, but is expected to be launched within 18 months.

Full details are not available at this time, but it is expected merchants will be able to:

  • Apply a charge of up to 2.5% or the actual cost of accepting the card;
  • Apply the charge on either brand, or just higher cost premium cards.

If you choose to apply surcharges, you will need to:

  • Notify your card processor that you are going to do so;
  • Tell your customers at the point of sale and on receipts.

We recognize that most merchants will not add credit card surcharges as they do not want to risk losing the sale or customer. However, the power to surcharge is important as it will allow merchants, either individually or collectively, to push back in the event of a future round of credit card fee increases.

Fighting for You

This is another win in CFIB’s fight for credit card fairness. Our 10 year campaign has been designed to help return some balance of powers between banks/credit card brands on one side and independent merchants on the other.

We believe the new surcharging power could be quite effective in sending a message to the industry if fees begin to creep up again in the future. Also, in some industries (such as merchants who serve other businesses), a credit card surcharge may be helpful in responding to a request to put a large purchase on a card.

We have called for the industry to let you address rising costs, and they have listened. This comes after a series of victories we’ve had over the past few years.

Those victories include:

  • CFIB pushed the industry to develop a voluntary code of conduct that provides merchants with additional powers relating to credit and debit card acceptance.
  • With the support of CFIB, Mastercard and Visa cut interchange fees for all merchants by about 10% in 2015.
  • CFIB negotiated with Chase Paymentech to offer improved rates and special terms for CFIB members.
  • Mastercard now offers lower interchange fees for CFIB members specifically. You can save 12.5-22% on fees through this exclusive deal.

We will provide you with more details as information rolls out in the next coming months.

Find out how to benefit from preferred rates or the recent Mastercard deal.


We are here to help.
For more information contact Business Resources at 1-888-234-2232 or e-mail