The Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry in Canada was updated to outline certain new rights for merchants. This Code of Conduct took new strides towards promoting awareness about all costs associated with merchant services, and accepting credit and debit cards, as well as providing merchants increased flexibility when choosing merchant services providers. The Code of Conduct broke down the rights of merchants providing them different payment options in which they can freely choose.
Now, more than three years after the Code of Conduct was updated, far too many merchants that accept credit and debit cards are still unaware of their rights, and what the Code of Conduct outlined for merchant services. Know your rights when it comes to understanding the length of your merchant agreement, length of terminal lease or rental, as well as full disclosure of fees clearly stated on your monthly statement. Knowing your rights as a merchant can save you time, money and headaches when accepting credit and debit cards at your business and choosing a merchant services provider.
CLARITY IN MONTHLY STATEMENT
The code of conduct outlines increased transparency and disclosure on the part of payment card networks and acquirers to merchants. In other words, merchant statements must include the following information in a clear, simple and non-misleading way:
- Effective merchant discount rate for each type of payment card from a payment card network
- Interchange rates and, if applicable, all other rates charged to the merchants by the acquirer
- The number and volume of transactions for each type of payment transaction
- The total amount of fees applicable to each rate
- Details of each fee and to which payment card network they relate.
Understanding your equipment rental or lease terms is an important part of your merchant services program. In the past, merchant services providers were able to make equipment rentals or leases longer than merchant agreements, meaning that once the merchant agreement was concluded, your lease or rental agreement was still remaining. For the most part, it was a way to retain merchants based on a contractual agreement, rather than on service. When choosing a merchant services provider, look into the different contracts that they offer for merchant agreements, as well as rental or lease agreements for equipment. You should want to stay with your merchant because they service your business needs, not because you are obligated. Ensure that you have read all materials before signing, and if need be, walk through with the merchant services provider to provide any clarity that is provided.
90 DAY NOTICE OF RATE INCREASE
One of the more valuable regulations to be aware of under the Code of Conduct, is as a merchant you are required to be given 90 days notice of any rate increase. However, Notification is not required for fee changes made in accordance with pre-determined fee schedules, such as those based on merchant sales volume, provided that the schedules are included in the merchant’s contract.
It is important to know that not only do you have rights under the Code of Conduct, but that choosing the right merchant services provider requires time and research. The right provider will go over your rights with you, and will outline all fees prior to any contractual agreements. Know what is important to your business, and finding the right merchant services provider can be the difference between a smooth, simple relationship with accepting credit and debit cards, and a tumultuous one.