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Federal government reaches agreement to cut credit card fees for business owners


A Winnipeg business owner facing the pressure of high credit card fees is praising a federal move to lower them.

Along with the Federal Budget 2023 announcement Tuesday, the federal government announced it had come to an agreement with MasterCard and Visa to reduce credit card fees by as much as 27 per cent for small business owners.

Kari England, the owner of Toad Hall Toys, said the announcement to lower fees has been a long time coming.

"It's been on the radar for a really long time,” England said. "It's over $5,000 a year just in these little percentage fees. But then as I say that, there's also renting of machines."

On top of her usual fee to have credit cards, England said there are extra charges if the card has a chip, is a rewards card, or if she needs to enter the card number by hand. She estimates she spends $10,000 a year to accept credit cards in her store.

England said she is glad to have the payment option, but how they take credit cards has changed since her parents opened the shop almost 50 years ago.

"We used to have one of the ‘chink-kah-chink’ machines and everybody has their card. And then we had to hand enter them.”

She said the quicker payment is a trade off, but the fees are too high. She is glad to see the feds take the step to negotiate smaller fees.

''Unfortunately as of now we don't have any of the details of that agreement," said Jasmin Guénette, vice president of national affairs at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

She said it is something the federation is hoping to see that in the weeks to come.

"If you're a small business that has a lot of credit card fees, if you are in retail if you're a restaurant owner, these are things that you recognize that are an increased cost pressure that you've had to deal with,” Manitoba Chambers of Commerce President and CEO Chuck Davidson said.

He says any help for businesses is welcome after recent pandemic and economic pressures.

"These additional costs on business is something they've had to deal with. So something that's going to put more money back into their pocket is something that's a good thing."

Davidson said he is still waiting for the federal government to announce details on how the cuts will work. Top Stories

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