The agreement follows a four-year battle between the card schemes and the federal Competition Bureau over interchange fees, which typically have fluctuated between 1.5% and three percent.Both Visa and MasterCard have talked up the voluntary nature of the deal, as opposed to the more binding regulatory measures that had been threatened.
„Visa enters into this undertaking with the full expectation that the government is committed to a level playing field. If Visa or our clients are disadvantaged as a result of entering into this undertaking, Visa reserves the right at any time to terminate or amend it.”, according to Visa’s press release.
As part of this change, MasterCard will reduce interchange rates for specific categories and create new categories targeted at small merchants, such as:
. reduced rate for independent petroleum merchants
. reduced rate for independent grocery merchants
. a new independent business rate in everyday spend categories such as: convenience stores, hardware stores, parking, restaurants, drug stores, dry cleaning
. a new Charity rate; first payment network to do so in Canada.
“We continue to maintain the balance for all our stakeholders in the payments industry. We brought forward a voluntary solution that avoids the unintended consequences of regulation as we have seen in other countries,” said Betty DeVita, President, MasterCard Canada. “Our focus is on sustaining the right environment to deliver safe, secure and convenient payment innovations like mobile and contactless while increasing the value of electronic payments for merchants and consumers.”
The Retail Council of Canada estimates that as much as $500 million from an annual $400 billion interchange surcharge will be saved through reducing rates, according to finextra.com.
„Though Libra has met with fierce resistance from central banks and supervisory authorities and might never see the light of day, in many other cases tech firms (both start-ups and established big players) have successfully captured bits and pieces of universal banks’ traditional value chain. This trend may only intensify in the coming years. In this environment, European banks remain squeezed.”