Skip to main content

We’ve refreshed our look! To make sure you’re seeing the latest version, select CTRL + F5 or, in your browser, go to History > Clear browsing data to clear your cache.

Become a Member

Code of Conduct for Credit and Debit Cards

Code of Conduct for Credit and Debit Cards

Purpose of the code

The purpose of the Code is to demonstrate the industry’s commitment to: 

  1. Ensuring that merchants are fully aware of the costs associated with accepting credit and debit card payments thereby allowing merchants to reasonably forecast their monthly costs related to accepting such payments. 
  2. Providing merchants with increased pricing flexibility to encourage consumers to choose the lowest-cost payment option. 
  3. Allowing merchants to freely choose which payment options they will accept.


All disclosures to merchants provided under the Code must be presented in a clear, simple, and non-misleading manner.


The Code applies to credit and debit card networks (referred to herein as payment card networks) and their participants (e.g. card issuers and acquirers1).

The payment card networks that choose to adopt the Code will abide by the policies outlined below and ensure compliance by their participants (e.g. issuers, acquirers, and their downstream participants). The Code will be incorporated, in its entirety, into the payment card networks’ contracts, governing rules and regulations. The Code will apply within 90 days of being adopted by the payment card networks and their participants.

Requirements for Payment Card Networks 

By adopting the Code, payment card networks agree to provide any requested information regarding actions taken by themselves or participants to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, for the purpose of monitoring compliance with the Code. In addition, payment card networks agree to pay for the fees associated with monitoring compliance with the Code, as determined by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada. 

Payment card networks will regularly review, no less than every 3 years, market conduct practices of all merchant focused agents2, registered by acquirers with the payment card networks, in the context of the Code. The payment card networks will report the results of these reviews to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.

Policy Elements

  1. Increased Transparency and Disclosure by Payment Card Networks and Acquirers to Merchants.

The payment card networks and their participants will work with merchants, either directly or through merchant associations, to ensure that merchant–acquirer agreements and monthly statements include a sufficient level of detail and are easy to understand.

All merchant-acquirer agreements will include a cover page containing an information summary box that provides key elements of the contract in a consolidated fashion and a fee disclosure box, using the templates in Addendum I.

Acquirers must also disclose all other fees (e.g. monthly minimums, administration fees, etc.) charged to the merchant.

Payment card networks will make all applicable standard interchange rates and acquiring network assessment fees easily available on their websites. In addition, payment card networks will post any upcoming changes to these rates and fees on their websites once they have been provided to acquirers. Payment card network rules will ensure that merchant statements include the following information:

  • Effective merchant discount rate3 for each type of payment card from a payment card network that the merchant accepts;
  • Interchange rates and, if applicable, all other rates charged to the merchants by the acquirer; The number and volume of transactions for each type of payment transaction;
  • The total amount of fees applicable to each rate; and, Details of each fee and to which payment card network they relate.