Some campus businesses won't implement new federal credit card surcharge

You likely won’t be charged extra when using a credit card at businesses at UBC despite the new national surcharge.

On October 6, 2022, the Government of Canada implemented a surcharge on any credit card transactions to help small businesses pay their merchant fees. This resulted from a decade-long lawsuit against Visa and Mastercard by Canadian businesses who were concerned that the companies conspired with certain banks to increase interchange fees.

If a business chooses to charge its customers, then it must alert the customer to the extra charge and cannot charge more than 2.4 per cent of its interchange fee. But this can vary depending on the credit card you use. The higher the premium of the card, the higher the interchange fee.

Of all the businesses along University Boulevard The Ubyssey contacted, none said they would implement the new surcharge. These businesses are Shoppers at UBC, Steve’s Poke Bar, UBC Convenience Stores and DownLow Chicken Shack.

Doug Stephen, the owner of DownLow Chicken Shack, decided against applying the surcharge directly to customers.

“We have already factored in those percentages as part of our price. Depending upon how the rest of the neighbourhood [and] in the rest of [how] your country decides to implement the surcharge we will most likely follow suit,” he said

Stephen said it would be interesting to see who uses the surcharge.

“It'll be really interesting to watch it play out because you'll be able to tell really quickly if businesses are using it as an opportunity to monetize more heavily based upon what percentage they choose. And who implemented [the surcharge] first,” he said.

Steve’s Poké Bar took a similar stance as DownLow Chicken Shack.

"We believe at this time that because this is something new, where some businesses may choose to have this surcharge, some may not, that this is not something we want to focus on," a representative said in an email to The Ubyssey. "Instead, [we will] put our energy into ... providing awesome poke experiences."

AMS President Eshana Bhangu sent a statement to The Ubyssey confirming that AMS-owned businesses within the Nest will not be implementing the surcharge.

“We remain committed to providing affordable food outlets for students as a core value for the AMS,” said Bhangu.