Dollar here, dollar there
What to know about the new credit card fees
Good morning. Adding to the rising cost of gas, rent and everyday necessities, Thanksgiving supplies are also more expensive this year. In a recent report by Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab, foods like potatoes, cranberries and turkey are up by more than 10%. Bon appétit!
In this edition:
💵 Fees on fees
🏙 Sticker shock
— Vindhya Kolluru, Editor
Tapping your credit card just got more expensive
The receipt of your next shopping trip is about to be more stuffed than your Thanksgiving turkey, well kind of. As of last Thursday, Canadian businesses have the option to tack on additional surcharges for customers who pay with their credit cards. The next time you tap your credit card, you could pay around 1.4% more at some retailers. With inflation hovering around 7%, it's no doubt consumers are feeling the pinch of rising prices.
So what gives? Up until now, businesses have been on the hook for credit card fees. Every time you pay with credit, a percentage of the sale is paid by the business to card providers. The revenue from these fees is used to fund reward and loyalty programs. In 2021, there were over 6 billion credit card transactions in Canada totalling a whopping $509 billion.
- That is a mountain of fees that are more challenging for small businesses to cover. And as consumers have increasingly gone cashless, this bill has grown.
While this change is helpful for small businesses, passing down the credit card fees to customers does make everyday purchases more expensive. It’s also possible that some businesses will forgo the fee to avoid alienating already cash-strapped consumers.
- The good news is that introducing fees is optional and consumers must be notified. That means it's possible that some businesses will forgo the fee altogether. Fees are capped at 2.4% and if you live in Québec, the province’s Consumer Protection Act forbids them. Bless.
The bottom line: If you want to avoid these fees, your best bet is to switch from credit to debit where you can. (Or cash, remember that?) And if you’re focused on raking in points…we see you and support this journey.
— Paisley Sim
On our radar
- Last week, Toronto-based venture capital firm Two Small Fish raised the first close — $24 million — or a little more than half of its third fund. Founded by husband and wife duo Allen and Eva Lau, Two Small Fish primarily backs early-stage technology companies in North America.
- Andrea Skinner stepped down as the interim board chair of Hockey Canada on Saturday evening, less than a week after she appeared before a parliamentary committee investigating the organization’s handling of an alleged sexual assault. Skinner had joined the board in August after then-chair Michael Brind'Amour resigned. Hockey Canada has been under intense scrutiny since May, after it paid $3.5 million to settle a claim by a woman who alleged eight players assaulted her in London, Ontario.
Boy, is it hard out here for a tenant: Here's what you can do about rising rents
The 411 dishes, well, the 411 on a personal finance topic you need to know by cutting through the jargon and empowering you to take control of your finances. Have a topic you want us to tackle? Let us know!
Rental increases? In this economy? We are just as flustered as you are.
- Alberta is calling: If you’ve been on TikTok recently, you’ve probably seen the recent surge in young people talking about moving to Alberta. It comes on the heels of Alberta's $2.6 million marketing campaign directed at Toronto and Vancouver to entice young people and families to make the big move. Not surprisingly, there has been some success. Young Canadians can’t afford to live in big or small cities, with two-thirds of cities still being unaffordable even with full-time work.
You won’t be shocked to hear that rentals have gone up by 11.1% between August 2021 and 2022. Inflation, the hot real estate market and higher demand have contributed to higher prices.
Right now, it's a landlord’s market — so what can you do if your landlord wants to raise rent? One option, like the people on your TikTok FYP, is to move to...Alberta? But if you're not ready to bid farewell to the bustling city life, we spoke to Lisa Hannam, executive editor of MoneySense.ca, to give you some advice.
- First, ensure that your landlord has followed the law and procedures for notifying you about rental increases. It should be aligned with current rental control guidelines within three months — and if you’re worried, you can reach out to the Landlord and Tenant Board.
- Next, look up the policies around rent control in your province. Check to see if your space is under rent control and when and how your landlord is able to increase rent. (In Ontario, landlords can usually increase rent 12 months after the last rent increase of 12 months after the date the tenancy begins.)
- Lastly, Hannam says you can always try and negotiate. There are a few ways to go about this: You can compare rental prices in your neighbourhood, offer to extend your lease or suggest a trade, such as fixing up the rental space.
The bottom line: Rent might be going up, but it is still possible to plan for the future and survive the current economic environment. In the wise words of Queen Bey, "You (read: rental prices) won’t break my soul."
— Michelle Musindo
Other things we read and we liked
👩🏻💻 Given that 99% of adulting is sitting behind a screen (RIP), we're giving these four exercises to relieve and prevent pain from computer slouching a try.
🍰 Hot take: The Great Canadian Baking Show won't ever live up to the OG Great British Bake Off.
👕 What five women learned from sewing their own clothes.
👯 The case for making a new friend at work.
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