EDITORIAL – Future isn’t so friendly with Telus money grab on credit-card fees
An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
FIRST IT WAS paying airlines for carrying our luggage. Then COVID sympathy tips began creeping in for just about everything we buy.
And we all know about food companies shrinking the size of the portions we get. A half dozen hot dogs and buns has somehow turned into five at the same or higher price.
Now the ‘Future is Friendly’ folks at Telus want us to ante up for credit card fees when we pay our phone bills. But the money would go to Telus, not the credit card company.
When we talk about inflation, we don’t usually consider these sleight-of-hand tricks that part us with more of our dollars. Telus seems to think it’s doing us a big favour by allowing us to use our credit cards to pay them.
So, it’s asking the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission for permission to add a 1.5 per cent fee onto its phone bills when they’re paid with a credit card.
If Telus gets the go-ahead for this terrible idea, it could create a giant mess. Why wouldn’t Rogers and Shaw and other telecoms, want the same privilege, even though Canadians pay some of the highest rates in the world for connectivity?
And if the telecoms do it, why wouldn’t merchants want in on it? They already have permission to start building them in this coming fall, after complaining about the rates they must pay the credit-card companies.
And then there’s Amazon — online spending, most of which is done with credit cards, is higher than ever.
It’s all enough to make you go back to cash.
Those who sell us goods and services have to change their way of thinking. The convenience of credit cards encourages us to buy what they’re selling. The easier it is for us to buy, the more of our paycheques we’re willing to part with.
The CRTC should hang up the phone on this money-grabbing Telus request.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at email@example.com.
What Telus is trying to do, and why others will climb onto to this cash grab, is because of the exorbitant, hijacking costs that Visa, MasterCard and the like charge retailers and services just to be able to offer credit card services to their customers.
Visa for example charges the customer interest, charges the business per transaction, as well as a monthly fee, as well as a steep rental cost for a retailer to use their at retail counter machine or online service. The bank that the business uses also takes a chunk as well, for transaction processing charges.
When you add it all together and look at how much a business has to pay in order to offer credit card services … its not surprising that someone is trying to crawl some of it back. It also not surprising that Telus is taking the lead to try to do this … and you can bet that every other utility and even retail, is watching carefully.
Unfortunate, it all seems pointless when the easier option is for the Federal Government to just regulate and outlaw these gouges in fees, by these credit companies.