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CRFA lobbying over sky high fees




April, 23, 2009, Toronto – Despite testimony in the Senate over the past few
days, Canadian restaurateurs are still baffled by the skyrocketing credit card
fees being charged to restaurants each time a customer pays with Visa or
MasterCard. 

 



The Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce heard
from credit and debit card company representatives this week during its
investigation into fees charged to merchants and consumers.  Despite repeated calls from Senators for an
explanation of fees, Visa and MasterCard blamed the payment processors that
charge fees to merchants and avoided questions about all other credit card
fees.

“It’s a simple matter of truth and transparency,” says Justin Taylor, vice president labour and taxation
for the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA).  “If the top credit card executives can’t
explain the fees, how can we expect restaurateurs to understand them?  The fact that these companies refuse to be
held accountable for their fees is shameful.” 

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During Wednesday’s testimony, Visa and MasterCard also defended their plans to
introduce new, high-cost debit products.

“Credit card companies argue that their debit products will enhance
consumer choice – but we don’t buy it,” says Taylor.  “We’ve seen it happen before.  Banks will use reward points to lure
customers into using the higher-cost debit product.  In the end, merchants and customers will be
paying more for a new service that no one except the credit card companies
needs, or wants.”

The head of Interac also appeared before the Senate,
outlining a plan to change Interac into a for-profit commercial entity that
will be “more innovative.”

“If more bells and
whistles mean consumers and merchants will be charged higher fees,
restaurateurs are not on board,” says Taylor.  

In its written submission to the committee, CRFA explained
how the unfair practices of credit card companies and banks are leading to
significant increases in costs for restaurant operators – and to higher menu
prices for consumers. 

One of Canada’s largest business associations, CRFA
represents independent and chain restaurants, bars, contract and social
caterers, hotels and other foodservice providers.  CRFA is a member of the Stop Sticking It To
Us Coalition, a group of Canadian associations representing more than 120,000
businesses that have joined forces to put a stop to skyrocketing credit card
fees.