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Consumers better hope Telus application for extra fee fails

Ron Walter reviews an application from Telus and shares his opinion on angle parking in downtown Moose Jaw
BizWorld_withRonWalter
Bizworld by Ron Walter

Earlier this summer communications company Telus Inc. filed an application with federal authorities to charge customers who use credit cards to pay bills an extra fee.

The 1.66 per cent fee is intended to offset the fees Mastercard, Visa and other credit card companies charge on each transaction.

Telus estimated the fee would cost the average customer a mere $2 a month.

Many local people think this application matters not. Telus is a big player in the Saskatchewan market with SaskTel the big operator here.

But the Telus application, if approved, could have important implications for anyone using credit cards to pay for goods or services.

The credit card companies charge merchants between one per cent and three per cent per transaction every time a merchant accepts a credit card payment.

That amounts to a pile of money at month’s end when the deductions are made from revenues.

Some time ago the major credit card companies, under pressure from merchants about fees, agreed that merchants can charge a processing fee to offset some of the cost.

Mastercard set the maximum offset fee at 2.4 per cent, just about twice what Telus wants.

If the Telus application is approved by the Canadian Radio-Television Communications Commission, consumers can look for a barrage of similar fees from other companies.

Regulated industries such as telecom and utilities have to apply for  rate increases but others can just slap one on.

One large corporation charging an offsetting fee sets a precedent and opens the gates to a flood of rate increases.

Credit card processing fees are a burr in the side of business. Walmart used its bargaining power to cut off Visa credit cards a few years ago until an acceptable fee was negotiated.

Consumers should be hoping the Telus application is denied.

Adding another few per cent to all credit card purchases would reduce buying power.
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The City of Moose Jaw is considering angle parking on the 100 block of High Street East, just down from the only angle parking block in Moose Jaw.

The street is wide enough to handle angle parking and angle parking would add some downtown parking spots.

That’s all the positives out of another block of angle parking, by my two bits worth opinion.

The current angle parking sees near accidents every day.

Most Moose Jaw drivers aren’t used to angle parking and drive through the block from Main Street without looking carefully. They cut off drivers who are halfway backed out of angle parking spots.

When I have business on the zero block of High Street East I park on Main or River and walk. My partner won’t and nearly every time she is cut off while backing out.

Ron Walter can be reached at ronjoy@sasktel.net

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.