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MasterCard plans to hike assessment fees


February 7, 2013
By The Canadian Press

Feb. 7, 2013, Toronto – MasterCard Canada plans to follow Visa's lead and increase transaction
fees for small merchants this summer, according to the Canadian
Federation of Independent Business.

Feb. 7, 2013, Toronto – MasterCard Canada plans to follow Visa's lead and increase transaction
fees for small merchants this summer, according to the Canadian
Federation of Independent Business.

The CFIB said in January that the credit card company has disclosed that it
plans a 20 per cent increase in its assessment fee to 7.7 basis points
on July 1.

President and CEO Dan Kelly said that while the increase is smaller
than the one announced earlier by Visa, his organization – the largest
representing Canada's small- and medium-sized businesses – is still
dismayed by the decision.

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"CFIB is very disappointed that MasterCard is choosing to increase its
fees at a time when small firms are struggling with an uncertain
economy," Kelly said in a release.

He added that it was particularly surprising that both major credit
card brands are upping their fees just before Canada's Competition
Tribunal is expected to rule in its case against the two credit card
giants.

"Unfortunately, the only competition between Visa and MasterCard is to
see who can raise prices the most for merchants and consumers and
deliver the highest fees for Canada's banks," Kelly said.

MasterCard issued an email statement saying it has operated a "seamless and trusted" network for the past 45 years.

"We continuously work to balance the payments network so that all parties pay their fair share," it said.

MasterCard said it will continue to work with merchants and
institutions that issue the cards to deliver payment methods "that
deliver consumers a valuable purchasing experience."

The CFIB is among those arguing against industry rules that require
businesses that accept Visa or MasterCard to treat all types of their
cards equally, regardless of the cost of processing payments.

The CFIB, with 109,000 members countrywide, says shopkeepers and others
who accept credit and debit cards as payment need the right to be able
to refuse high-cost cards or to add limited surcharges.

It also argues Canada's code of conduct needs provisions for new mobile types of payment, such as by cellphone.

Under a settlement reached in the summer, Visa, MasterCard and major
banks agreed to pay retailers in the United States at least US$6 billion
to settle a long-running lawsuit that alleged the card issuers
conspired to fix the fees that stores pay to accept credit cards.

Under that settlement, which settled a dispute going back to 2005, U.S.
merchants will also be allowed to charge their customers more if they
pay with credit cards.