Compliance Bulletin B-7: Role of payment card network operators in ensuring participant compliance with the Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry in Canada

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Publication Date: December 4, 2020

Effective Date: December 4, 2020

This compliance bulletin provides guidance with respect to Commissioner’s Decision #126. It sets out the expectations of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) with respect to the obligations of payment card network operators (PCNOs) to ensure their participants’Footnote 1  compliance with the requirements of the Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry in Canada (“Code”).

In Canada, PCNOs that have adopted the Code must abide by its requirements and ensure compliance by their participants.

Specifically, the Code states:

The payment card networks that choose to adopt the code will abide by the policies outlined below and ensure compliance by their participants (e.g. issuers, acquirers, and their downstream participants). The code will be incorporated, in its entirety, into the payment card networks’ contracts, governing rules and regulations.

PCNOs currently incorporate the Code and related FCAC Guidance and Compliance Bulletins into their network rules. For the Code to be effective and achieve its objectives, PCNOs must actively monitor and enforce participant compliance and take reasonable steps to prevent non-compliance.

Therefore, FCAC expects PCNOs to:

  1. adopt a proactive compliance approach which includes establishing and implementing control measures and tools to prevent, monitor, and enforce
  2. ensure their participants comply with the Code by implementing the measures and tools referred to in paragraph (1)
  3. ensure that mechanisms (e.g. communication, monitoring exercises, audits) are in place to action FCAC requests, Guidance and Compliance Bulletins, including this bulletin, in a timely manner
  4. demonstrate, upon request, how the expectations in paragraphs (1), (2) and (3) are being met

PCNOs will mandate requirements and compliance tools for their participants to comply with in connection with this bulletin. PCNOs will share these requirements and compliance tools with their acquirers and issuers, who in turn will share them with their downstream participants. Relevant requirements and compliance tools include, but are not limited to:

  1. B-7 Industry Guidelines; and
  2. The annual Attestation of Compliance (PDF, 600 KB).

FCAC expects full implementation of this bulletin by all Code participants, including the above-noted compliance tools and requirements by January 1, 2021.

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