Credit Card
Class Action Settlements

Canadian Credit Card Settlements Announced

If your business has accepted VISA and Mastercard credit cards between March 23, 2001 and September 2, 2021, you may be eligible to receive money from class actions settlements. The class action suits claimed that VISA and Mastercard conspired to set higher interchange rates and restricted a business ability to surcharge or refuse their higher credit card use. ORHMA signed on to this class action suit back in 2016. 

The settlements have received court approval, and there is a total of $131 CAD million in compensation available for distribution to class members after court-approved deductions (the “Net Settlement Amount”). The distribution is itemized at https://www.creditcardsettlements.ca/ and includes merchants who accepted payments by Visa or Mastercard credit cards as payments for goods or services in Canada between March 23, 2001, and September 2, 2021.

Furthermore, through the class action suite the courts determined that merchants will now be authorized to add surcharges starting in October 2022. Visa and Mastercard will also amend their surcharging policies in allowing small businesses if they choose to pass on their merchant credit card fees to customers. 

Recent years have not been kind to our hospitality industry with the various pressures we faced and continue to endure. Over the years, ORHMA has been very active in challenging merchant rates. ORHMA is a founding member of a business coalition that has influenced lower rates, has presented to the Federal Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce and signed up to this same class action suit on behalf of its members. We are continuing to pursue further reductions on merchant fees that are fair. 

Who Can Receive Payment Under this Class Action? 

Settlement Class Members who accepted payments by Visa or Mastercard credit cards as payments for goods or services in Canada between March 23, 2001, and September 2, 2021.

In order to participate in the Settlement, a Class Member must submit a claim no later than:

 

  • December 30, 2022:  Claim Deadline for Documented claims (Deadline extended for Documented claims only since the online documented claim form was only made available on August 30, 2022) 

  • September 30, 2022: Claim Deadline for Undocumented and Simplified claims 

Click here for more information on how to submit a claim.

How will the Settlement Funds be distributed? 

The Net Settlement Amount will be divided into three (3) funds. Settlement Class Members will be paid from the fund that corresponds to their average yearly revenue:

Merchant Fund 
Amount of Net Settlement Amount Allocated

SMALL MERCHANT FUND

Settlement Class Members who collect less than $5 million in average yearly revenue over the Class Period. 

40%

MEDIUM MERCHANT FUND 

Settlement Class Members who collect $5 million to $20 million in average yearly revenue over the Class Period. 

10%

LARGE MERCHANT FUND 

Settlement Class Members who collect more than $20 million in average yearly revenue over the Class Period. 

The Class Period is March 23, 2001 - September 2, 2021. 

50%

The courts approved a distribution plan for distributing the Net Settlement Amount. A copy of the distribution plan is available here

How Much Money Will Settlement Class Members Get? 

Type of Merchant
Annual Average Revenue Over the Class Period (CAD) 
Claim Options
Per Year Claim Amount (CAD) 

SMALL MERCHANT

Less than $5 million

Undocumented

$30

MEDIUM MERCHANT

Between $5 million and $20 million

Simplified

$250

LARGE MERCHANT

More than $20 million

Simplified

Undocumented

$250

Proportional share of Large Merchant Fund (to be determined once all claims are submitted)

For more information, please click here.

 

Furthermore, through the class action suit, the courts determined that merchants will now be authorized to add surcharges starting in October 2022.  Visa and Mastercard will also amend their surcharging policies in allowing small businesses if they choose to pass on their merchant credit card fees to customers.

The Voice of the Hospitality Industry: ORHMA Continues to Fight 

Recent years have not been kind with the enormous pressures faced by the hospitality industry. Over the past few years, ORHMA has been very active in challenging these merchant rates including being a founder member of a business coalition that has influenced lower rates, has presented to the Federal Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce and signed up to this same class action suit on behalf of its members. We continue to pursue further reductions on merchant fees that are fair. Much more needs to be done.

Chronology of Key Activities on Reducing Merchant Rates

AUGUST 2022 

ORHMA Members Call to Action

ORHMA thanks those in our industry that rallied in our call to action asking for action on the Budget 2022 to reduce credit card rates. Bringing this up to the eyes of all Members of Parliament regardless of party affiliation-to and asking them in turn to contact the Minister of Finance with an urge to honour the 2021 budget commitment in lowering interchange fees.

MAY 2022 

Canadian Credit Card Class Action Suit Settled 

If you accepted VISA and Mastercard credit cards between March 23, 2001, and September 2, 2021, you may be eligible to receive money from the class actions settlements

APRIL 2021

Budget Includes A Reduction in Merchant Fees 

The Federal Government’s budget included a statement calling for a review and reduction in credit card merchant rates.  

FEBRUARY 2021

ORHMA advocated for merchant rate reduction 

Call to Action by ORHMA to reduce merchant rates. See letter written to government here.  

AUGUST 2018

CREDIT CARD FIRMS TO CUT FEES THEY CHARGE SMALL & MEDIUM BUSINESSES 

The Federal Government of Canada announced that it has helped secure new, separate and voluntary commitments from three payment card networks that will lead to lower costs for small-and-medium-sized businesses – changes largely championed by the Small Business Matters (SBM) Coalition which the Ontario Restaurant Hotel Motel Association has been an active member of advocating together to save costs for hospitality businesses and their guests.

Achievements:

  • Include loyalty / premium cards in the calculation

  • American Express included will provide transparency

  • Credit Card Company audits to ensure the averaging commitments are being met.

  • Interchange fees to an average of 1.4 % for a five-year period

SEPTEMBER 2015

Class Action Suit

ORHMA signs up its members to the Class Action Suit against VISA and Master Card

OCTOBER 2014

ORHMA Speaks to Federal Standing Committee on Merchant Rate Reduction 

ORHMA President and CEO speaks to the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce voicing concerns of the high merchant rates hospitality businesses are paying.

APRIL 2014

Government released the Voluntary Code of Conduct

ORHMA welcomed the Code of Conduct but stressed that more needs to be done to protect the interests of our hospitality business landscape.

APRIL 2013

Public Bill Support

ORHMA had discussions and supported Senator Pierrette Ringuette tabled a Senate Public Bill S-215 An Act To Amend The Credit Card Payments Act (Credit Card acceptance Fees) –went to  2nd reading