Canada Competition Bureau

Canada’s Government to Expand Credit Card Code of Conduct to Mobile Transactions

April 13, 2015 - Written By Cory McNutt

Everything is going mobile these days and one of the fastest growing segments is using your mobile smartphone to make payments via your credit card…often referred to as an electronic wallet.  Google Wallet, Samsung Pay, Suretap and PayPal are great examples – you setup up your bank account and attach your Debit and Credit Cards to it and away you go.  You pull up the payment method on your mobile wallet much like you would reach into your physical wallet and select a Credit Card to make your purchase.  Canada is embracing the idea of shopping and paying via their smartphones and mobile payments with a projected growth rate of 142-percent between 2013 and 2016.  It was a year ago that Rogers introduced their own Suretap payment solutions and it has been a growing area ever since.

As with anything involving money or credit cards, there needs to be rules and regulations in place to protect both the merchants and the consumer.  The Globe and Mail are reporting that the Conservative government is expanding its code of conduct that now covers the credit and debit card industry, to include items that are purchased via a smartphone as well.  Finance Minister Joe Oliver is set to address the expanded code in Toronto sometime today.

The provisions cover the consumers in allowing them to choose which form of payment they want to make – debit or credit – when they swipe their devices to make their payment.  It also ensures that the merchant will incur a saving because of reduced credit card fees – one of the main reasons the original code was conceived.  Business owners were forced to pay high fees for accepting credit cards, especially ones that offered generous points awards, which were passed on to the consumers…even those that paid cash!  The code sets clear and precise rules regarding fees and allows contracts to be cancelled if the rates go up without a penalty being assessed on the merchant.  It is not sure if the announcement will address the details of liability for purchases should the consumer lodge a complaint.  Those consumer concerns may be dealt with in a separate plan…we will know more after the official announcement.