Request to vary the Interac Consent Agreement filed with the Competition Tribunal
TORONTO, July 12, 2013 – Today, a request to vary the Interac Consent Agreement was filed with the Competition Tribunal. The proposed amendments will help address governance, structural and funding constraints that impact the organization’s ability to compete effectively and meet market demands in today’s highly competitive payments marketplace.
“It is important that Canadian merchants and consumers continue to have access to a sustainable, domestic, low-cost payment option,” stated Mark O’Connell, President and CEO, Interac Association/Interac Inc./Acxsys Corporation. “These amendments help achieve this by allowing us to restructure the organization into a single corporation, Interac Corp., that can offer a single integrated portfolio of payment products under the direction of an independent board, and with the ability to better fund innovation.”
Since 1996, Interac Association has operated under a Consent Agreement which prescribes in detail how it is structured, how it is governed and by whom, how it sets and collects fees, and the voting levels required for decisions. The Agreement can only be amended or terminated through the Competition Tribunal. If approved by the Competition Tribunal, the amended Consent Agreement will remain in place until June 2018, subject to a successful restructuring of the organization.
Interac is a low-cost, world-class debit system with payment products in the bricks-and-mortar and virtual spaces, and serves Canadians well. In 2012, consumers carried out over 4 billion Interac transactions. The Canadian payments marketplace, however, is undergoing significant shifts and increased competition with large multi-national competitors unencumbered by the business operating constraints faced by the domestic provider, Interac Association.
“Our goal is to strive to continue to offer the best payment products available and the value-add of being a low-cost payment option,” emphasized Mr. O’Connell. “At the end of the day, we don’t want to be like our competitors, but we want to be able to compete with them on a more level playing field. The amendments to the Consent Agreement are a first step, albeit a critical one, to make this happen.”
About Interac Association, Interac Inc. and Acxsys Corporation
A recognized world leader in debit card services, Interac Association is responsible for the development and operations of the Interac network, a national payment network that allows Canadians to access their money through Interac Cash at 60,000 Automated Banking Machines and Interac Debit at 766,000 point-of-sale terminals across Canada. Interac Flash, a secure contactless enhancement of Interac Debit allows Canadians to pay for items instantly with their Interac chip debit card at a reader that supports Interac Flash.
Interac Association was founded in 1984 and is comprised of a diverse membership that includes banks, trust companies, credit unions, caisses populaires, merchants, and technology and payment related companies. Interac Inc. is the legal entity through which the affairs of Interac Association are carried out.
Other related services offered by Acxsys Corporation, whose shareholders are the architects of the Interac network, include: Interac Online, for secure online payments made directly from a bank account; Interac e-Transfer, for the transfer of money from one person’s bank account to another person’s bank account using an email address or mobile phone number; and international services, which provide Canadian cardholders with point-of-sale access at nearly 2 million U.S. retailers, and PULSE, Discover, Diners Club International and UnionPay cardholders access to ABMs in Canada.