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The Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG) is pushing the federal government to make credit companies lower credit card fees for online purchases, as many are ordering groceries online.

CFIG sent a letter asking to revisit the 2018 agreement with Visa and Mastercard that put a cap on the fees. According to Gary Sands, senior VP of CFIG, this agreement did not include online rates since no one knew online shopping would be essential this year.

“The impact is disproportionally higher on independent grocers,” says Sands.

Sands also says that independent stores pay higher rates since they don’t have the leverage of larger chains to negotiate lower rates from credit card companies.

“Something has to be done to encourage the credit card companies, particularly Mastercard, to reduce their rates,” says Sands.

The agreement limits fees to an average of 1.4 per cent. It was supposed to help small businesses, but those businesses say it doesn’t account for online purchasing.

“There’s no blame on Visa and MasterCard for their rate structure changes. I think they both intended to try to hit the 1.4 level, but COVID has meant that will be near impossible,” says Dan Kelly, chief executive of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

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