Canadian Convenience Stores Association

Canadian Convenience Stores Association

November 04, 2014 15:59 ET

Convenience Stores Have Mixed Reaction to Credit Card Fee Announcement

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 4, 2014) - The Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA) and its members are responding to this morning's announcement by Minister Oliver that credit card companies Visa and Mastercard have voluntarily lowered their interchange fees, effective by April 2015.

"We thank Minister Oliver and Finance Canada for their attention and efforts to address our concerns regarding these fees," says Alex Scholten, President of the CCSA. "Credit card swipe fees in Canada are amongst the highest in the world and our retailers have suffered."

A five year "freeze" on the rates noted in the statement is also welcomed relief for retailers as swipe fees have risen sharply over the past several years. Continued rate increases would have had severe impacts on small business members across Canada.

"Although any rate relief is welcomed, a reduction to only 1.5% is disappointing and will offer little relief for our small business retailers," adds Scholten.

The CCSA is concerned that the ability of retailers to use the expense savings to hire more people, invest in their businesses or reduce consumer pricing will be limited.

"Canada's c-store retailers would have great concern about this and our associations will continue to express that concern to Minister Oliver."

Governments in other jurisdictions such as Australia and the EU have imposed rate caps in the range of 0.5%. These rate reductions were based on research that indicated such rates would not have a detrimental effect on credit card payments. The CCSA and its members are hopeful that beyond the voluntary rate reduction, the Canadian government will consider this approach in future.

About CCSA

The CCSA is a national not-for-profit trade association that represents the interests of over 25,000 convenience store retailers operating in Canada. Its mission is to foster the success of the convenience store industry in Canada by representing the best interests of its members, and the communities they serve.

The association accomplishes its mission through government relations and advocacy, promoting the professionalization of the industry and creating industry recognition and awareness.

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