Credit and debit card industry: Code of Conduct

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

A Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry in Canada has been adopted by all payment card networks, including American Express Canada, Discover, THE EXCHANGE, Interac, Mastercard Canada, VISA Canada and UnionPay. 

In the Scope of the Code, the networks also agree “to ensure compliance by their participants.” This means that all participants in the networks are also bound to comply with it. Participants include:

  • financial institutions that issue these cards
  • acquirers
  • any other intermediaries between merchants and acquirers
  • merchants

The Code came into effect in August 2010, following extensive consultations, led by Finance Canada, with merchant and consumer associations, debit and credit card networks, payment service providers and credit card issuers across Canada during the development phase.

The Code has the following objectives:

  • to ensure that merchants are fully aware of the costs associated with accepting credit and debit card payments
  • to provide merchants with increased pricing flexibility to encourage consumers to choose the lowest-cost payment option
  • to allow merchants to choose freely which payment options they will accept.

Payment card networks have incorporated the Code of Conduct into their contracts, governing rules and regulations. This will ensure that other participants in the networks, including card issuers and payment processors, also follow the Code's provisions.

FCAC monitors the payment card networks’ compliance with the Code of Conduct. The FCAC Commissioner has also issued Guidance to clarify the application of some of the Code’s provisions. See the links below.

Related links

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