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CRFA Fights To Revise Credit And Debit Card Fees

Synergy Merchant Services is a proud member of The Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association which has earned the reputation of being a trusted activist on behalf of its numerous members.

With membership consisting predominantly of restaurant owners and food distributors, the CRFA itself is a member of the Stop Sticking It To Us Coalition – a group of Canadian associations representing more than 120,000 businesses that have unified in order to prevent the seemingly never ending increase in credit card fees.

Marching on with their lobbyist efforts in April of this year, the CRFA finally encouraged the Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce to investigate the fees charged to merchants and consumers by the credit and debit card industry.

Hearings had been taking place since late March where the Senate had heard testimony from merchant processors, consumer groups, banks, credit unions and government officials. At these hearings, the CRFA reported its concerns about Visa and MasterCard’s competition practices and their policies surrounding “interchange fees” in an effort to outdo each other. The role of Interac in the Canadian payment system was also addressed.

This past April, the Senate Committee heard from Visa, MasterCard and Interac along with a number of merchants. The CRFA contended that credit card companies and banks had entered into “unfair practices” that lead to significant increases in costs for restaurant operators which, in turn, forced higher prices for menu items onto customers.

A survey on CRFA’s website revealed foodservice operators reported a 24% increase in credit card fees throughout 2008. The CRFA reported that “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 CRFA continues to maintain its lobbyist efforts on behalf of its members by continuing to meet with government officials in order to review a number of issues. Among the concerns are the fees being charged to merchants for accepting credit cards as well as the ability merchants have to pass the cost of accepting credit cards on to customers through surcharges.

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