Québec Businesses Beware: No, You May (Still) Not Tack on Fees to Pay with a Credit Card

Major credit card companies recently changed the rules they impose on businesses using their credit facilities to allow customers to pay them. Further to a (relatively) recent court decision, credit card companies in Canada may no longer prohibit their business customers from adding extra fees whenever a customer elects to pay for products/services with a credit card.

Until now, both Visa and MasterCard prohibited this practice in Canada, perhaps because it may tend to discourage customers from using their credit cards to pay and, thus, lead to a reduction of credit card transactions over time.

With the recent change to their policies as to this, Visa and MasterCard both now allow businesses to do this, at least up to the percentage of service charges that each card may carry (e.g., 1% to 3%), without going over, so as to avoid businesses starting to make profit with such extra fees. In the province of Québec, however, businesses should make a note that, notwithstanding this recent change, the law still prohibits such additional fees. This prohibition stems from the provincial requirement that prices actually charged be no higher than the prices that are displayed, shown or advertised.

As such, it is (and remains) illegal for a business operating in Québec to jack up the price once a customer gets to the cash, whether it be because he has red hair, because he’s wearing a blue jacket, because he wants to pay in dimes or, yup, wants to pay using a credit card.