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Federal ruling means status quo for credit card companies

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – It’s good news for consumers and retailers alike; that’s how one watchdog group is viewing from the Competition Tribunal this morning, rejecting a complaint against Visa and Mastercard.

The Competition Bureau accused them of being anti-competitive for the fees charged merchants and the rules imposed on them for the use of so-called “premium” cards.

The tribunal rejected the complaint and Bruce Cran with the Consumers Association of Canada says that means business as usual for folks and both sides of the register.

“I think it’s not only a victory for consumers, it’s a victory for retailers who [were] being led down the path by a minority group,” he explains.

“We’re very happy because this leaves us with our incentive cards, which 90 per cent of us say we love, and it leaves the system in place where they have to honour all of our credit cards.”

Had this gone the other way, it may well have prepared the ground for retailers to charge you extra to dig out that “premium” plastic or turn them away, a scenario Cran calls a nightmare.

The Bureau does plan on reviewing the decision to see how it will proceed, but Cran expects the ruling to stand. “There’s a caveat in there, in the second part of the [tribunal’s] findings, that would allow for changes if they figure they made any mistakes, but I don’t think they have.”