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Competition Bureau will not appeal credit cards decision

Bureau Exploring Other Avenues to Protect Canadians by Promoting Competition

OTTAWA, September 30, 2013 — John Pecman, Commissioner of Competition, issued the following statement with respect to the Competition Tribunal’s decision released in July 2013 that dismissed the Commissioner’s application against Visa and MasterCard:

"Following a careful review of the Competition Tribunal’s decision, we have decided not to appeal this decision, but to focus our efforts on identifying alternate means of addressing the competition issues in the supply of credit card services in Canada.

"In this regard, we note that the Tribunal found that Visa’s and MasterCard’s conduct is influencing the price of credit card services in Canada upwards and having an adverse effect on competition. At the same time, the Tribunal felt that regulation of the industry would provide a more appropriate solution than any remedy that it could provide.

"The Competition Bureau will continue to pursue ways in which it can resolve the issue of anti‑competitive credit card rules imposed by Visa and MasterCard on merchants in Canada."


The Bureau maintains that without changes to Visa’s and MasterCard’s rules, merchants will continue to pay excessively high card acceptance fees, and these fees will continue to be passed along to consumers in the form of higher prices for goods and services.

As such, the Bureau will work with the federal government and relevant stakeholders to advocate for changes in the credit card market. Further to the Bureau's ongoing efforts to promote the benefits of competition, it has been incrementally increasing its level of advocacy and regulatory interventions.

Credit card acceptance fees paid by Canadian merchants are among the highest in the world, estimated at $5 billion per year. On December 15, 2010, the Competition Bureau filed an application with the Tribunal challenging rules that Visa and MasterCard impose on merchants who accept their credit cards.

The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.

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