What does the Code of Conduct mean for merchants

From Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Merchants must receive a minimum of 90 days' notice of any new fees or fee increases related to credit or debit card transactions.

If a fee change is made in accordance with a predetermined fee schedule included in the merchant's contract with an acquirer, notification is not required. 

Learn more about the Commissioner's Guidance on the 90-day notice period.

Merchants are allowed to cancel their contracts without penalty within 90 days of receiving notice of a new fee or a fee increase.

This right to cancellation does not apply if a fee increase is made in accordance with a predetermined schedule included in the merchant's contract, such as a schedule based on the merchant's sales volumes.  

Learn more about the Commissioner's Guidance on enhanced disclosure and the right to cancel contracts without penalty.

Merchant statements from their acquirers must include the following information presented in a clear and simple manner:

  • effective merchant discount rate for each type of payment card from a payment card network
  • interchange rates and any other rates that acquirers charge the merchant
  • the number and volume of transactions for each type of payment transaction
  • the total amount of fees applicable to each rate
  • details of each fee, including the payment card network to which they relate

Payment card networks must make all interchange rates applicable to their products and any upcoming changes to these fees easily available on their websites.

Merchants who accept credit card payments from a payment network are not required to accept debit card payments from the same network, and vice versa.  A merchant can choose to accept only credit or debit payments from a network without having to accept both.

Merchants are allowed to provide discounts for different methods of payment (for example, cash, debit card and credit card), as well as different levels of discounts among different payment card networks. If merchants choose to offer these types of discounts, they must clearly display the discounts at the point of sale. 

If payment card networks introduce new products or services, merchants are not required to accept those new products or services. Negative option acceptance is not allowed.

  • This element of the Code of Conduct applies to new products and services that payment card network operators offer to merchants
  • It does not apply to new products and services offered to consumers, such as a new credit card product
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