OTTAWA – Telus Corp. is trying to add a 1.5 per cent processing fee for customers who use a credit card after a class action settlement cleared the way for merchants to add the surcharge starting this fall.
In a letter to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the telecom giant says the surcharge is intended “to cover the processing costs that credit card payments incur.”
The document, which is dated Monday, seeks permission from the regulatory body to add the fee to its terms of service.
Telus competitors Bell, Rogers and Videotron did not respond to requests for comment.
In a statement to The Canadian Press, Telus says the average cost each month will be about $2 per customer, who can avoid the fees by selecting another bill payment option, such as debit payments or one-time bank payments.
Vancouver-based Telus says the fee will not apply in Quebec or to customers of its Koodo subsidiary.
The telecom will be free to add the surcharge following a class action settlement with Visa and Mastercard that gives merchants the power to pass credit card fees on to customers starting Oct. 6.
The Canadian Federation of Small Businesses said following the settlement that few merchants are expected to add surcharges for accepting credit cards, but the ability gives businesses the ability to recoup those fees will help them push back against future fee hikes.
Merchants faces processing fees for credit cards ranging from as low as around one per cent for basic cards to nearly three per cent for cards that offer rewards such as cash back or loyalty points.
Mastercard has set a maximum cap of 2.4 per cent for surcharges that merchants can charge.
The ability for merchants to add a surcharge to credit cards comes as the pandemic has accelerated a shift from cash payments to online payments that the CFIB said has significantly impacted small firms.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 12, 2022.
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