Posted by: Olgen K. Ifti | December 13, 2010

Layton slams ‘predatory’ nature of credit card companies – Vancouver Sun

EDMONTON — NDP leader Jack Layton used a downtown Edmonton eco-boutique as the backdrop Sunday to illustrate the “predatory” nature of credit card companies he accused of taking advantage of Christmas shoppers and business owners.

“We’re here because consumers and small businesses are under attack from predatory credit card companies,” said Layton, who made a swing through Edmonton to attend a Christmas party for supporters of NDP candidate Lewis Cardinal.

Layton said retail sales during the Christmas season can make or break many small business owners, who face a list of fees and charges from credit card companies that affect both their profitability and viability.

Allison MacLean has experienced the impact of such charges first-hand. She owns Carbon Environmental Boutique, the site of Sunday’s news conference. The store has been open for two years now and sells environmentally-friendly products that include everything from paint to flooring to bed linens to toys. MacLean said the store actually stopped carrying one credit card because the fees were so high.

“We get charged when we ring a purchase through on a credit card and we get charged again when we have to do a refund,” said MacLean. “Honestly, credit card fees and merchant fees and rental fees for the unit are my second biggest expense. It’s not in the hundreds of dollars, it’s in the thousands, so anything that can be done to lower the fees will help small businesses.”

Canadian consumers, meanwhile, says Layton, are carrying more personal debt than at any point in the country’s history, yet many are unable to pay even the monthly interest fees on their credit cards and end up accruing penalties which send them deeper and deeper into debt.

“Coming out of this Christmas season, it’s going to be even tougher for families,” said Layton.

In the meantime, says Layton, banks and credit card companies are making record profits and giving away half of those profits in bonuses to CEOs and managers. He also accused Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government of giving “massive tax cuts” to these same companies, while at the same time putting a federal tax on products Canadians need.

“He doesn’t get it,” says Layton. “The banks alone are going to get $800 million of tax breaks on Jan. 1st of this year and the consumers are going to find themselves with bills that have interest rates at 18 per cent, even higher if they’re penalized for missing a payment.”

Layton says the NDP wants every credit card company to be required to offer a “basics” credit card at five per cent above prime to allow Canadian consumers a better chance to get out of debt. For retailers, the party wants to see a more open process so that small businesses wouldn’t be “gouged” by contracts and penalties.

“I think it’s important for consumers to know that when these banks send you these fancy credit cards, it’s often the small retailers in your neighbourhood that end up having to pay extra to the credit card company for you to get these various bonuses and points,” said Layton. “I think if people knew that they wouldn’t want them.”

© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal

When it will ever stop? None is ever thinking how to relief the end buyers. Canadians are increasing the debt cause we can’t give up on our “entitlements”. As Layton said, Canadians need credit cards with lower intererst rates.

We need to change our spending habits and spend what we can afford, so that the CEOs and managers of credit card companies feel the pinch.


  1. Hmmm this post is very interesting. I’ll use it for my project :). Can you tell me some related articles I could use too? – Bosal exhaust

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: