‘It will have a big impact’: Atlantic Canada businesses hopeful about credit card deal

Click to play video: 'Small Maritimes businesses praising federal incentive to reduce credit card fees'
Small Maritimes businesses praising federal incentive to reduce credit card fees
WATCH: Small businesses in the Maritimes are praising a new incentive by the federal government that will look to reduce credit card fees. The changes are on the heels of what business owners are calling hard times. Zack Power reports. – Mar 30, 2023

Tuesday’s federal budget opened the door to fewer fees for small and medium-size businesses, with reduced fees on credit card payments, which could amass as high as 27 per cent.

Anytime a patron uses a credit card at a business, that company is sent a bill afterwards. In some cases, bills at the end of the month could be hundreds of dollars.

The federal government stuck a deal with Visa and Mastercard and said the deal is “coming into place,” but didn’t provide a timeline.

It comes as local businesses are calling for much-needed relief in Saint John. An increased minimum wage, tax rates and debt from the COVID-19 pandemic have meant Keith Broome’s Uptown Saint John business has been feeling the pressures.

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Broome’s restaurant has seen a customer a day or less using cash to pay for their order. Since the pandemic, his business has seen a sharp decline in those looking to use it.

He said he it will have a “big impact”  at the end of the month.

“There are not a lot of things coming down. It’s a relief to see something coming down,” he said, speaking to Global News.

“It definitely hurts the bottom line for sure. People don’t realize all these cards with all these benefits; that comes out of the retailer.”

Just two doors down at the Saint John City Market, Minister of Small Business Mary Ng spoke to local vendors. Many continue to cite the challenges that face their businesses today. Shortly after meeting those businesses, she told reporters that business has never been better.

“(I believe) We are on the other side of the pandemic. Many businesses have recovered, and I would say that we have recovered really well in Canada,” said Ng.

She said that recovery was thanks to support from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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That comes on the heels of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business explaining many businesses are still healing their wounds from the pandemic, citing that the money saved will help with debt.

When you’re reducing fees, someone, somewhere, somebody has to pay some money,” said Louis-Philippe Gauthier, the Atlantic Canada vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

“In this case, it’s the banks, and I’m glad the federal government got involved. Hopefully, these savings will be passed on sooner than later.”

Reducing those fees has been on the mind of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business for quite some time. He said that there are a lot of details on the announcement but said that businesses are optimistic about the changes.

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