Business and Operations
Pass the buck
By Laura Aiken
Recent recommendations that retailers ought
to be allowed to add a surcharge on items purchased with credit and debit cards
upset the consumer advocates, but rightfully makes sense for businesses.
The Canadian Federation of Independent
Business (CFIB) was the first to recommend the addition of surcharging as a modification
to the drafted voluntary code of conduct that came on the heels of the credit
card companies' entry into Canada’s debit market. Currently retailers can add an
extra cost for the use of debit but not credit cards.
If businesses are ever to rightly educate
the consumer on the real costs of purchasing, then passing the price of using
their credit card back to them is just handing them the reality of their chosen
method of payment. The truth is that it costs the business more to allow that
type of payment so if the consumer would like the value of the convenience of
plastic then it shouldn’t be a difficult to educate the consumer on the costs
of that convenience. Perhaps businesses should not be forced to absorb the
costs every time a customer intended to go the bank machine and forgot. Plastic
is an option. It’s not mandatory. Paying a little more for a preferred personal
choice is a pretty widely exercised value in Canada. Education should lead to
acceptance and a fairer system for small business.