Do you accept credit and/or debit cards as a method of payment from your customers? If so, chances are you would like to see stronger regulations placed on the networks that process these payments.

In April, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty released a voluntary Code of Conduct for the credit and debit card industry. The Code's aim is to help you become better informed of the costs associated with accepting credit and debit card payments.

The Code compels card networks to provide merchants with:

  • clear information on rates and fees
  • advance notice of new fees and fee increases
  • penalty-free contract opt-out in the event of fee changes
  • more flexible pricing to allow customers to choose the cheapest payment option
  • ability to choose payment options to accept from cardholders

The credit and debit card industry has until May 17 to review and adopt the Code. The government has introduced legislation, however, that gives the Minister of Finance the ability to regulate the industry, if necessary.

If you'd like further information, read the full Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry in Canada.

Update: May 18, 2010

The Minister of Finance has announced that all payment card networks, major credit and debit card issuers, and payment processors have adopted the Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry. Most elements of the finalized Code will come into effect by August 16, 2010, as expected.

For more information, you can read the press release issued by the Department of Finance entitled "Government of Canada Finalizes Code of Conduct for Credit and Debit Card Industry".