Telus Tells CRTC: Credit Card Processing Fee is ‘Just and Reasonable’

telus credit card processing fee

Telus has filed an official response to interventions submitted to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) against its proposed 1.5% surcharge on all credit card payments and transactions.

In its reply, Telus asserted that charging customers a processing fee for bill payments made through credit cards is “just and reasonable.”

Telus told customers in an email last week that those who “choose to make a bill payment with a credit card will be charged a 1.5% Credit Card Processing Fee (plus tax).”

This new fee only applies to one-time and pre-authorized credit card bill payments. Telus assured customers that the fee is not higher than what it pays to accept credit card payments. It looks like the company is merely passing the expense on to customers.

“Even if it were ‘discrimination’, which it is not, it is not ‘unjust’ for a customer electing to use an optional service that carries with it higher costs to be charged more,” Telus wrote in its reply to the CRTC.

According to Telus’s response, the company received 3,917 interventions through the CRTC. However, iPhone in Canada reader @fanCRTCProfling said on Twitter that those numbers are incorrect. Including OpenMedia submissions, there are more than 7,000 interventions against the 1.5% credit card processing fee.

Telus went on to point out that processing fees for credit card payments are common among several public sector entities, including Canada Revenue Agency, and utility companies like BC Hydro.

While merchants have been “contractually prohibited” from charging extra fees on credit card payments in Canada, this restriction is expected to lift as early as October 6.

Quebec still won’t allow businesses to charge customers for processing credit card transactions, however. The province has consumer laws that mandate accurate pricing and prohibit practices that may be construed as predatory.

As such, Telus will soon start charging a 1.5% processing fee on credit card payments in every province except Quebec.

In its email last week, Telus provided the following breakdown of how the fee will be charged in October:

For example, if a customer in Ontario is making a $100 bill payment, the 1.5% Credit Card Processing Fee would equal $1.50, plus 13% HST of $0.20, for a total of $1.70.

Telus maintains that customers who don’t want to be charged the credit card processing fee should consider “using alternative payment options.” These include one-time payments at your bank, recurring bank payments through pre-authorized debit, or Visa Debit, Visa Prepaid, and Mastercard Prepaid cards.

It is still not clear if the CRTC has approved Telus’s request to start charging credit card processing fees. That said, the telecom giant appears confident the change will be approved (if it hasn’t been already).