Claim up to $5,000 in a recent class action settlement!

Has your business accepted Visa and/or Mastercard credit cards as payment at any point since March 23, 2001? You could be eligible to receive a portion of a multi-million dollar settlement in a class action lawsuit against Visa and Mastercard for restricting merchants’ ability to surcharge or refuse higher cost (“premium”) credit cards. Applications for rebates are available until December 30th, 2022, so make sure to apply fast!

We have also heard reports of third-party firms offering to handle applications for a fee. With no documentation required and our guidance, we’re confident that you can handle the application process without the help of a third-party firm, meaning you can keep 100% of your settlement.

 

At the present moment, the review process for all three tiers of claims is ongoing. Notably, two out of the four waves of approved Undocumented claim payments have already been disbursed.

Undocumented claims:
•    The first batch of payments was issued around June 16, 2023.
•    The second batch was issued around September 22, 2023.
•    The third batch is expected to be sent out after January 2024.
•    The final batch of payments is expected to be distributed in the spring of 2024.

Please note that those who have been approved to receive a payment for their Undocumented claim will receive an email from Payment@CreditCardSettlements.ca as soon as they receive approval.
Additionally, Quebec residents should anticipate a delay in receiving their payments for Undocumented claims, as the Superior Court of Québec is still in the process of issuing a decision regarding the payment procedure.

Simplified Claims:
No payments have been issued to date, and their disbursement is not expected until after January 2024.

For more details, please visit https://www.creditcardsettlements.ca/  

At the present moment, the review process for all three tiers of claims is ongoing. Notably, two out of the four waves of approved Undocumented claim payments have already been disbursed.

Undocumented claims:

    • The first batch of payments was issued around June 16, 2023.
    • The second batch was issued around September 22, 2023.
    • The third batch is expected to be sent out after January 2024.
    • The final batch of payments is expected to be distributed in the spring of 2024.

Please note that those who have been approved to receive a payment for their Undocumented claim will receive an email from Payment@CreditCardSettlements.ca as soon as they receive approval.


Additionally, Quebec residents should anticipate a delay in receiving their payments for Undocumented claims, as the Superior Court of Québec is still in the process of issuing a decision regarding the payment procedure.:

Simplified Claims:
No payments have been issued to date, and their disbursement is not expected until after January 2024.

For more details, please visit https://www.creditcardsettlements.ca


Lowering Credit Card Costs for Small Business

Credit cards may be handy for consumers, but the fees to accept credit cards add up quickly for merchants like you! Since 2008, CFIB has been negotiating with government and the credit card industry to level the playing field and lower processing fees for your business. Join the fight for:

  • Lower fees on interchange, GST/HST swipe, prepaid cards, and refunds
  • Clearer processing rates and fees, and more consistent language across processors
  • Continuous expansion of the Code of Conduct as new issues emerge, including ensuring merchants can challenge chargebacks in a fair and simple way
  • An independent system to resolve disputes between merchants and payment processors

CFIB takes on the credit card industry

Credit cards may be handy for consumers – but they can be expensive for merchants like you! Since 2008, CFIB has been negotiating with government and the credit card industry to level the playing field and lower processing fees for your business. 

 

Did you know that your small business can now add a surcharge to Visa and Mastercard transactions? Learn more

What is the Credit Card Class Action Settlement and what does it meant to your business?

Join CFIB and the Credit Card Class Action Administrators and learn more! Already a CFIB member? Please register here

 

REGISTER NOW

Eligibility

You’re eligible to receive a portion of the settlement if you:

•  Were a merchant in Canada at any point between March 23, 2001, and September 2, 2021,
• Accepted Visa and/or Mastercard credit cards as payment for goods and services,
•  Incurred merchant discount fees, including interchange fees.

How Much You'll Receive

Merchant size Average annual revenue over the claim period Amount you can receive per year you incurred merchant discount fees
Small merchant Less than $5 million $30 / year (max $600)
Medium merchant Between $5 million to $20 million $250 / year (max $5,000)
Large merchant $20 million + $250 / year 

Process

You will receive confirmation that your claim was submitted successfully. Your application will then be reviewed by the claims administrator and either approved or denied. Should more clarifications be needed on your application, please contact the claims administrator.

If you are approved, you can expect to receive your funds after all claims have been received at the end of 2022.  

If you are denied, you will receive a decision notice. No appeal process exists for small business claims. If you have any concerns, you can speak to the claims administrator.

Close up low angle view of a man working from home on a laptop computer sitting at a desk surfing the internet

Our fight over the years

Since 2008, CFIB has been negotiating with government and the credit card industry to level the playing field and lower processing fees for your business. 

2023

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, joined by CFIB President Dan Kelly, announces an agreement between Visa, Mastercard, and the federal government for lower credit card fees. Watch the announcement here.

CFIB continues to put pressure on government to:

  • Speed up the implementation timeline to be ahead of Fall 2024
  • Expand the agreement to additional credit card providers
  • Review size thresholds to benefit more small- and medium-sized businesses

2022

A settlement stemming from a class action lawsuit against Visa and Mastercard allows certain small- and medium sized merchants to claim up to $5,000. CFIB takes charge to get the word out about the settlement to make sure as many businesses apply as possible

Due to the lawsuit settlement, businesses are also now allowed to add a surcharge to certain credit card transactions, a key CFIB ask since the Credit Card Code of Conduct was first introduced! 

2021 - 2022

 

Next, the Liberal government commits to reducing credit card fees for merchants in the 2021 Federal Budget, and the 2022 Fall Economic Statement.  

2020

 

The second reduction on interchange fees for basic transactions, in addition to a new rate freeze for an additional 5 years. 

2019 - 2022

Following over a decade of CFIB advocacy, the Liberal government promises to lower credit card fees further.

The Liberal government commits to reducing credit card fees for merchants in the 2019 Liberal election platform.

2014 - 2015

CFIB negotiates with Visa, Mastercard, and the government to achieve the first reduction of 10% in interchange fees and a rate freeze for 5 years. 

Photo: Finance Minister Joe Oliver recognizing CFIB leadership by inviting Dan Kelly to join him at the podium for the announcement.

2010

CFIB writes and fights for the Credit Card Code of Conduct to give merchants like yourself more power with payment processors.

The Code of Conduct: 

  • Stopped mass distribution of premium credit cards
  • Allowed merchants to exit contracts after unplanned fee increases
  • Saved low-cost debit in Canada

2008

Small business owners are facing: 

  • Major cost increases of 20-30% month over month
  • Unfair, non-negotiable contracts with costly exit fees
  • Risk of 10x cost increase in the debit market 

    CFIB goes into action! 
    Over 50,000 petitions hand delivered to the Minister of Finance 

How CFIB is Helping Merchants Like You:

With your support, we will continue to fight for:

  • Lower interchange fees
  • No swipe fees on GST/HST
  • More fairness for merchants on “chargebacks”
  • No fees on prepaid cards and refunds

Join Now

Smiling customer paying by credit card at the bakery

Tools & Resources

CFIB has created resources and posters to help raise awareness on the costs of accepting credit cards.

Credit Card FAQ

I have received a letter about a Class action lawsuit due May 31, 2024, is it legitimate?

A few of our members have received a notice to submit a claim to participate in the Interchange Fee Settlement in the United States. Below is the information we received from our Canadian Credit Card Class Action contacts on these notices.

  • The claim period is currently ongoing in the U.S. and the deadline is May 31, 2024. 
  • The U.S. class administrator began sending claim forms to all known class members on December 1, 2023.
  • Should members have U.S. transactions and be interested, please have them contact the U.S. interchange settlement directly.
  • For all inquiries related to the US Interchange Settlement, class members can:

When will I receive my Credit Card Class Action Settlement / Claim money?

Undocumented claims:

  • Electronic transfers of funds will start to be issued during the week of May 21-26, 2023
  • Cheques will be issued and then mailed out approximately between May 31-June 2, 2023

Simplified & Documented claims:
The Claims Administrator is currently reviewing claims. You will need to wait until they are done their initial review to ensure that the amounts allocated to the different groups (small, medium and large merchants) are appropriate before the claims administrator can start paying out the claims.

What is a chargeback?

A chargeback is the reversal of a sale transaction that arises from a processing technicality, a customer dispute or fraudulent activity. Most chargebacks are violations of the rules and regulations established by a payment brand, such as Visa®, MasterCard® or debit network. Chargebacks are something every business wants to avoid, as they can result in lost revenue.

What are payment card networks?

American Express Canada Discover, The Exchange, Interac, Mastercard Canada, Visa Canada and UnionPay make up the seven major operators of payment card networks in Canada. To participate in these networks, merchants need to establish a contract with a payment service provider, such as an acquirer which provides them with access to the payment card network.

What is an acquirer?

An acquirer is an entity that enables merchants to accept payments by credit or debit card, by providing merchants with access to one or more payment card networks for the transmission or processing of payments.

What is surcharging?

A payment card surcharge is an additional fee that a merchant can choose to charge a consumer’s bill when they pay with a credit card at the point of sale. Find out more here.

What is the Credit Card Code of conduct?

Thanks in large part to our work on your behalf, Canada implemented a Code of Conduct for the payment card industry in 2010 and updated it in 2015. This code is a set of ten policy statements, which, for the first time ever, provided merchants with some power in their relationship with the credit card industry.

CFIB and its members have used the Code to resolve issues on exit penalties for fee changes in processing agreements, debit cards for e-commerce, and better disclosure in contracts and statements.

We work closely with the government and agencies like the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) to ensure the Code of Conduct achieves its main objective, which is to protect consumers and merchants.

FAQ - How do I claim my money?

What is the deadline to submit a claim to the settlement?

Merchants will have until December 30th, 2022 to submit a claim through the Online Claim Portal or postmarked mail.

After many merchants reached out to the lawyers of the class action lawsuit due to the publicity of surcharging, this deadline was extended from September 30, 2022.

You cannot submit a claim after the deadline. Any questions or concerns about the deadline can be directed to the Claims Administrator and/or the lawyers.

The Credit Card Class Action Lawsuit Claim deadlines were extended once to Dec 30, 2022, will they be extended again?

While it is possible, the Class Action lawyers have told us there are no plans to extend the deadline again. They recommend submitting your claim sooner rather than later. Any concerns or complaints should be sent to the Class Action lawyers.

When can I expect to receive my claim payout?

After the claim portal closes on December 30, 2022, the administrators will evaluate the number of claims before paying out to claimants.

My business is now closed, am I still eligible?

Yes, if you collected credit card payments between March 23, 2001, and September 2, 2021, you will be eligible to claim money from the settlement.

What is the cost of submitting a claim to the settlement? Do I need a third-party provider?

There is no cost to submitting a claim to the settlement. The process is simple and requires no documentation for small businesses. Some third-party providers may offer to submit your claim on your behalf for a fee.

Can I appeal if my claim is rejected?

No, undocumented claims cannot be appealed. An appeal process only exists for medium and large businesses who decide to submit a documented claim. These must be sent to an arbitrator within 30 days of a Decision Notice and require a $150 filing fee.

How do I report the settlement money in my taxes?

According to the Canada Revenue Agency, this settlement money should be treated as income and is subject to tax.

Who do I contact for issues or complaints with my claim?

Contact the Claims Administrator or lawyers for any questions or assistance needed at no cost. 

Claims Administrator
For questions about the claims process or this website:

Epiq Class Action Services Canada Inc.
Attention: Canadian Credit Cards Class Actions P.O. Box 507 STN B
Ottawa ON K1P 5P6
Email: info@CreditCardSettlements.ca
Telephone: 1-877-283-6548
Fax: 1-866-262-0816

Class Counsel
For questions about the class action or the settlement:

CAMP FIORANTE MATTHEWS LLP
Attention: Sharon Wong
400 - 856 Homer Street
Vancouver BC V6B 2W5
Email: swong@cfmlawyers.ca
Telephone: 604-689-7555

BRANCH MACMASTER LLP
Attention: Luciana P. Brasil
1410 – 777 Hornby Street
Vancouver BC V6Z 1S4
Email: lbrasil@branmac.com
Telephone: 604-654-2999

CONSUMER LAW GROUP INC.
Attention : Jeff Orenstein
1030 rue Berri Suite 102
Montreal QC H2L 4C3
Email: jorenstein@clg.org
Telephone: 1-888-909-7863 x2

You can also reach the lawyers by email at lawyer@CreditCardSettlements.ca.

How can I learn more about the lawsuit?

The Credit Card Class Actions Settlements have a website with more information.

FAQ - What is Surcharging and how do I start?

How does the class action settlement tie into surcharging?

In the settlement of the lawsuit, Visa and Mastercard agreed to allow merchants to pass on their added fees to customers. This option became available October 6, 2022. Learn more

This changes the contract rules between Visa, Mastercard and the merchants. Should you operate in Quebec, you will still not be able to surcharge consumers as the provincial Consumer Protection Act does not allow it. However, surcharging other businesses in Quebec is permitted.

What is surcharging?

A credit card surcharge is an additional fee that a merchant can choose to charge a consumer’s bill when they pay with a credit card at the point of sale.

Can I charge a fee on debit payments?

Yes. The ability to add a fee to debit card transactions has been and continues to be available to merchants.

If your business operates in Quebec, this will not be available to you, as the provincial Consumer Protection Act does not allow it.

Is a surcharge the same as a convenience fee?

No, a surcharge is different from a convenience fee.
A surcharge is any fee added to a transaction for using a credit card.
A convenience fee is a fee that merchants may impose on all transactions no matter the method of payment. These can include debit card transactions.

If a merchant is eligible to surcharge and impose a convenience fee, they cannot add both on the same transaction.

Can I surcharge my clients today?

Yes, as of October 6, 2022. Visa and Mastercard have each opened a registration process for Merchants to identify their intent to surcharge and agree to disclosure agreements (such as a minimum of 30 days’ notice to clients) before starting to surcharge customers. Learn more about surcharging here.

If your business operates in Quebec, surcharging will not be available to you, as the provincial Consumer Protection Act does not allow it.

Which credit cards will I be able to surcharge and by how much?

Merchants can pick and choose which credit card brands or products they would like to surcharge to a maximum of 2.4%. It will be your decision. You may decide to only surcharge premium cards that charge your business higher fees. The way you choose to surcharge may lower your surcharging maximum. 

Brand-level surcharges will be capped at the lesser of the merchant’s average effective merchant discount rate paid to the acquirer for Credit Card acceptance or the 2.4% cap.

Product-level surcharges will be capped at the lesser of the merchant’s cost to accept that particular credit card product or the 2.4% cap.  

Can I surcharge in person, over the phone and for online transactions? 

Merchants can choose any or all environments in which they surcharge clients. For example, a merchant can choose to only surcharge on online purchases.  

Can I decide to surcharge discounted or sale items only?

No, surcharges should be specific to the client’s choice to pay for their transaction by credit card. 

Should I register to surcharge as soon as it becomes available?

Registering for surcharging will continue to be available for merchants moving forward. Should you wish to surcharge as soon as possible, please know that a 30-day customer notice period must pass before you can surcharge customers. 

Do I charge sales tax on the surcharge?

We are awaiting information on this. We have heard the disclosure could be as simple as a line item after the subtotal with a description indicating the amount is a surcharge. 

Who do I contact for technical issues with registering to surcharge?

Each credit card network has set up its own registration system to monitor who will begin surcharging. Please contact the credit card network and/or acquirer with whom you are registered. This will depend on the rules of your surcharging agreement.

What is the deadline to register?

There is no deadline to register, however, before implementation, there is a 30-day customer notice requirement.  

On a chargeback, do surcharge fees return to the customer?

On a chargeback, the purchase amount plus the surcharge should be credited to the cardholder. On a partial chargeback, the corresponding percentage of the surcharge should be returned.  

What if my business doesn’t accept cash or debit?

Businesses can decide which legal tender(s) to accept. Should a business only accept credit cards, they can still choose to surcharge credit card transactions; however, the customer must have the option to cancel their purchase if they do not want to pay the surcharge.