It was in December 2010, more than two and a half years ago, that Canada’s competition watchdog launched its case against Visa and Mastercard, accusing the credit card giants of restrictive and unfair behaviour.
A ruling has been expected for nearly a year — after all, hearings at the Competition Tribunal wrapped up last July. Some observers are wondering if it will ever come.
At issue are contracts that merchants must sign preventing them from charging extra for customers who pay by credit card.
The Competition Tribunal’s decision on Tuesday to throw out the case against credit card companies was a blow to the retail industry, but it’s only a matter of time before Canada goes the way of Australia, the U.S. and much of Europe by permitting merchants to directly pass on the cost of accepting credit cards to consumers.
Bottom line: Competition is coming to the credit card sector.
Why does it always seem that just when you think you have enough rewards points to pay for that luxury golf vacation, the price suddenly goes up? You’re not alone.
A leading consumer group said in a report Wednesday it believes credit card loyalty rewards have become so popular they should qualify as a form of money, and that Ottawa should put in place legislation to ensure people’s points are protected from arbitrary moves by issuers that may hurt the value.
OTTAWA — The federal Opposition on Monday called on the Harper government to stop credit card companies from charging businesses higher fees for using premium cards.
The call came as a federal competition tribunal prepared to rule on whether Visa and MasterCard are engaging in anti-competitive behaviour.
Small business groups hope the tribunal will recommend that Ottawa forbid the major credit card companies from forcing retailers to accept cards that carry higher payment processing fees.
OTTAWA — The Competition Bureau says it will not appeal a tribunal decision to dismiss a bureau complaint that accused Visa and MasterCard of exerting too much power in forcing merchants to accept credit cards that carry higher fees.
Instead, Commissioner of Competition John Pecman says the regulator will focus its efforts on finding other ways to address competition issues in the supply of credit card services in Canada.
For two decades Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce’s Aeroplan credit card business chugged quietly along in the shadows, garnering scant attention even while it generated outsize profits. But the spotlight was abruptly switched on when rival Toronto-Dominion Bank made a grab for the business, eventually striking a three way deal with Aeroplan sponsor Aimia and CIBC to buy half the portfolio.
Canada’s competition watchdog is weighing in on a draft code of conduct for the wireless industry and calling for a ban on “locking” handsets, minimal termination fees and other steps that would encourage mobility between different carriers.