Starting Thursday, Canadians could face additional fees with some credit card transactions.

The change stems from a class-action lawsuit that was settled in 2018, where Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. agreed to alter the no-surcharge rule for merchants. This opened the door to businesses passing on the cost of processing credit card payments onto customers.

According to Mastercard Inc., there is “an absolute maximum surcharge cap that is set at 2.4 per cent.” Visa Inc. has not confirmed on its website what the maximum surcharge cap will look like for card users.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) said the additional charge won’t be offered in Quebec, due to consumer protection laws in that province.



A survey and report released on Wednesday by the CFIB found almost one in five (19 per cent) small businesses are considering implementing the new fee.

Corinne Pohlmann, senior vice-resident of national affairs at CFIB, said many small merchants are still debating whether they want to implement the surcharge since “they don't want to risk losing customers.”

"Small businesses have long been dealing with expensive credit card processing fees and trying to find ways to absorb the cost of accepting premium cards without the ability to surcharge or refuse those cards,” Pohlmann said in the press release.

“Surcharging gives them the ability to offset some of their costs and be transparent with their customers about the fees they pay."

Among consumer-facing businesses, 19 per cent in hospitality, 17 per cent in personal service and 12 per cent of retailers say they plan to implement the new credit surcharge.

CFIB president Dan Kelly said credit card processing can “eat about 1.5 to 2.5 per cent of every sale” for small business owners.



In August, Telus Communications Inc. submitted a filing to the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), for approval to add a 1.5 per cent processing fee for customers when they pay bills with Visa or MasterCard.

In an email to BNN Bloomberg, the CRTC said it has until Oct. 14 to make a final decision on the credit surcharge submission for Telus. There are a few different ways the CRTC could go about its announcement.

The organization said it would either:

  • “Approve the tariff, with or without amendments, or substitute or require the carrier to substitute another tariff for it;”
  • “disallow the tariff;”
  • “make public written reasons why the Commission has not acted (on approving or disallowing)…and specify the period of time within which the Commission intends to do so.”

Methodology for CFIB survey:

Flash Survey – Credit Card Merchant Fees: Preliminary results for September 1-8, 2022, based on a sample of 3,914 CFIB members. For comparison purposes, a probability sample with the same number of respondents would have a margin of error of ±1.6 per cent, 19 times out of 20.