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Businesses weigh in on government’s plan to reduce credit card fees

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The federal government is touting plans to help small businesses by reducing credit card fees, but some local merchants say while they welcome the measure, the actual impact it will have on their operations will be minimal.

The 2023 budget, released Tuesday, confirms a deal to lower the credit card fees paid by small businesses by up to 27 per cent.

David Worsley, co-owner of Words Worth Books in Uptown Waterloo, is no stranger to the fees associated with credit cards. (CTV Kitchener/Spencer Turcotte)

“No small business is going to say no to a few extra nickels,” said David Worsley, co-owner of Words Worth Books in Uptown Waterloo.

He says cash sales at his store are rare, and credit cards are involved in a significant chunk of transactions.

He’s no stranger to credit card fees and welcomes the move by the federal government to reduce them.

“But it's low-hanging fruit. It's not really a game changer.”

Worsley says ultimately, credit card fees are low on the list of things that keep him awake at night.

“Some quick back of the envelope math suggests it might pay for an invoice here or there. Of course it will. But will it change the game? Will it allow any prospective small business owner to say 'OK great, now I can do X.' Not really,” Worsley said.

He says tax relief is what small businesses truly need.

CFIB APPLAUDS MOVE

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) says lower credit card fees could help with COVID-19 recovery efforts and is significant considering Canada has some of the highest fees to accept credit cards in the world.

“Reducing fees to accept credit card payments will help businesses deal with the increased cost of doing business,” said Jasmin Guenette, vice-president of National Affairs with CFIB.

“If a small business can save up to $1,000 a year in credit card fees -- that's money they can reinvest in their business.”

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