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Sep. 22, 2020 | Tuesday
Editorials and Opinions
Letter: Slash credit card fees to boost economy

Dear editor:

The biggest driver of any economy is consumer spending.

Therefore it's time to slash credit card user fees, inject billions of dollars into our stressed economy and give "Joe Public" a break for a change.

I'm not talking about the paltry 10 basis point reduction announced by Finance Minister Bill Morneau in 2018 to reduce small business merchant fees. These interchange fees (the amounts credit card companies charge merchants for accepting their cards for transactions) usually average 1.5 per cent, though some range to 2.5 per cent or more.

That is a far cry from the exorbitant, predatory fees charged by retail stores, American Express, Visa , Mastercard. etc. Their fees can exceed 20 per cent or more.

As we transition our damaged economy, post COVID-19, where companies have closed (with more to come), massive job losses, investment portfolios tanked, RRSP savings diluted or spent. It is incumbent on our leadership in Ottawa to examine numerous vehicles of opportunity to inject additional disposable income, into the hands of the consumer.

I have long contended one of the major forces affecting our economy is the household cost outlay to service criminally high credit card user fees, thus robbing the economy of billions of dollars.

Accordingly, there is no better timing than now to take bold, aggressive leadership action and slash these fees by 50 per cent. In concert, anticipate and plug the loopholes likely to be employed by other devious means to offset these savings to the consumer.

It's unconscionable and sickening to read about banks, for example, reporting their quarterly financial profits in the billions of dollars. Yes, that's "billions" with a "B" in profit, per quarter. At the same time, they are paying next to zero to customers on their deposits, plus charging every other user fee they can conjure up.

Reduce, and cap, the multimillion-dollar executive salaries, plus excessive bonuses, stock options and dividends.

Let's get the savings into the hands of the consumer for reinvestment in the economy. Company profits are good – obnoxious profits are purely, out and out, greed.

Samuel Young