Small businesses call on Visa, Mastercard, government to lower credit card processing rates to no more than 1% of the sale

New petition calls for immediate action to lower fees

Toronto, February 8, 2023 – With credit card usage rising due to the pandemic, growing online shopping and tight consumer budgets, small merchants are urging the federal government and the payments industry to move quickly to deliver on the Fall Economic Statement’s promise to lower processing fees for small business.  

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of small businesses said that they want to see credit card processing fees drop to no more than 1% of the total dollar sale, according to a new survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). This would require interchange rates for small firms to be set at 0.7% or less – half of the current average of 1.4%.

Interchange Fees for banks 1 0.87-2.35% 0.7%
Processor Fees for acquirers 2  0.2% 0.2%
Visa/Mastercard/Misc. Fees 0.1% 0.1%
TOTAL 1.17-2.65% 1%

(1) Example includes a broad sample of instore and ecommerce interchange rates available to small businesses (Visa’s Everyday Needs, Electronic, Card Not Present Tokenized and Mastercard’s Card Present EMV and Digital Commerce)
(2) Example is CFIB’s rate with Chase – the lowest rate available to a broad cross-section of SMEs

CFIB research shows most (81%) small businesses take a hit to their bottom line to cover the costs of accepting credit cards. Yet, many small merchants feel they have no choice but to continue accepting credit cards if they want to attract and retain customers and grow their business. 

“While a handful of large multinationals can get special deals, small firms aren’t able to negotiate lower interchange rates on their own,” said Dan Kelly, CFIB president. “Ensuring that smaller merchants can access lower rates – including for ecommerce – is key to relieving some cost pressures, encouraging more small businesses to sell online and levelling the playing field with larger firms.”

“As the spring budget approaches, CFIB is calling on Ottawa to quickly deliver on its promise to work with the industry in negotiating a better deal for small business,” Kelly added.  

CFIB’s recommendations to the federal government and Visa and Mastercard on ways to lower credit card fees include:

  • Lowering merchant fees to no more than 1% of the total sale
  • Ensuring fees for e-commerce are kept low to allow small firms to compete online
  • Protecting low-cost Interac debit and the Code of Conduct

“Business owners want to do what they do best: run their business. With the increased cost of doing business and lack of staff, they don’t have the capacity and time to deal with confusing rules and rates that make it impossible to compare between different processors,” said Corinne Pohlmann, Senior Vice-President of National Affairs at CFIB. “Any changes made to credit card fees should be kept simple and help small firms better understand the rates they pay.”

Business owners can sign CFIB’s petition to lower credit card fees here.

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, CFIB

Final results for the Your Voice – January 2023 survey. The online survey was conducted from Jan. 18-31, 2023, number of respondents= 3,403. For comparison purposes, a probability sample with the same number of respondents would have a margin of error of at most +/- 1.7 %, 19 times out of 20. 

Final results for the flash survey – Credit Card Merchant Fees. The online survey was conducted from September 1— September 8, 2022, number of respondents = 3,980. For comparison purposes, a probability sample with the same number of respondents would have a margin of error of at most +/- 1.6 %, 19 times out of 20.

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 97,000 members across every industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at