Frequently Asked Questions


1. What is this lawsuit about? (back to top)

Class action lawsuits were commenced in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Ontario (collectively, the “Credit Card Actions”) against Visa Canada Corporation (“Visa”), Mastercard International Incorporated (“Mastercard”) and certain banks which issue credit cards (“Issuing Banks”).

The Credit Card Actions alleged that Visa and Mastercard conspired with Issuing Banks and acquirers to set the amount of interchange fees and impose rules that restrict merchants’ ability to surcharge or refuse higher cost Visa and Mastercard credit cards.

2. What is the New Settlement about? (back to top)

Although Royal Bank of Canada, The Toronto-Dominion Bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Bank of Montreal and The Bank of Nova Scotia do not admit liability, they have agreed to settle the Credit Card Actions (the “New Settlement”).

Between the New Settlement and the Prior Settlements (as defined below, collectively the “Settlements”), the defendants will pay a total of $188 CAD million for the benefit of the Settlement Class Members in exchange for the dismissal of the Credit Card Actions and other related litigation and a full release of all claims advanced against each of them, including future claims relating to continuing acts or practices that occurred prior to or following the commencement of the Credit Card Actions.

The Courts have already approved some deductions from the total settlement amount, including the fees of the Class Lawyers and expenses associated with processing the settlements.  A total of approximately $131 CAD million in compensation is available for distribution to class members. Information about the settlements is available on this website on the “Documents” page.

The Settling Defendants deny the allegations in the Credit Card Actions and there has not been any finding of liability against them.

3. What were the Prior Settlements? (back to top)

A number of settlements have already been approved in the Credit Card Actions. The Courts have previously approved settlement agreements with BofA Canada Bank, Bank of America Corporation, Citigroup, Capital One Financial Corporation, Capital One Bank Canada (Canada Branch), Fédération des Caisses Desjardins du Québec, National Bank of Canada, Visa, and Mastercard (the “Prior Settlements”).   

The net proceeds from the Prior Settlements have been held by the Class Lawyers and will be distributed to Settlement Class Members along with the net proceeds from the New Settlement with the Settling Defendants.

4. Am I part of this Settlement? (back to top)

You are a Settlement Class Member if you accept or accepted Visa credit cards and/or Mastercard credit cards as payment for goods or services and incurred merchant discount fees, including interchange fees, in Canada between March 23, 2001, and September 2, 2021.

5. How can I participate in the Settlement? (back to top)

Settlement Class Members who want to participate in the Settlement and in the Credit Card Actions can submit claims starting on May 30, 2022.  The claims deadline is:

  • 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

6. Can I exclude myself from the Settlement? (back to top)

The deadlines for all Settlement Class Members to opt out have expired. If you did not previously opt out, you are now part of the Settlement Class and are bound by the Settlements.

7. What happened at the Settlement Approval Hearings? (back to top)

After the December 6, 2021 settlement approval hearing, the Courts approved the New Settlement, the Class Lawyers’ fee of 30% of the recovered amounts, disbursements and other expenses payable from the settlement amount, and the plan for distributing the money from the Settlements.

8. Why did I get a notice? (back to top)

Notices were sent to merchants who asked to be kept updated about the Credit Card Actions. The notice tells you about your rights and options in the Credit Card Actions and also explains the lawsuit, the proposed settlements, the benefits available, who qualifies for those benefits, and how to participate.

9. How much money is available for distribution? (back to top)

There is approximately $131,000,000 available for distribution to Settlement Class Members. Details about the plan for distributing that money can be found in the Distribution Plan posted on the “Documents” page of this website.

10. How will the settlement funds be distributed? (back to top)

The Net Settlement Amount will be divided into three (3) funds, depending on how the average annual revenue of the Settlement Class Member during the Class Period (March 23, 2001 – September 2, 2021):

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

50%

11. How much money will the Settlement Class Member get? (back to top)

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

$250

 

Documented

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

12. How do I submit a claim? (back to top)

To be eligible to receive part of the Settlement Fund, Settlement Class Members must submit a duly completed claim form online, by email, or fax, along with all required supporting documentation (if required) no later than:

  • December 30, 2022, at 11:59 pm PST
    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, at 11:59 pm PST
    Claim Deadline for Undocumented and Simplified claims

Claim forms sent by mail, must be postmarked 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

To submit a claim online, please click here.

13. What type of claims can be submitted? (back to top)

The type of claim you can submit depends on whether you are a Small, Medium or Large Merchant.

Settlement Class Members, who are Small Merchants, may file “undocumented claims” (claims that do not require any supporting documents).

Settlement Class Members, who are Medium Merchants, may file “simplified claims” (claims that require proof of at least one agreement entered with an acquirer or payment processor).

Settlement Class Members, who are Large Merchants, have two options for filing a claim:

  • Large Merchants may file simplified claims (claims that require proof of at least one agreement entered with an acquirer or payment processor). Large Merchants who make simplified claims are eligible to receive $250 for each year they accepted Visa or Mastercard credit cards during the Class Period.
  • To be eligible to receive more than $250 per year, Large Merchants may file documented claims (claims that require documents showing credit card sales volume or payment of interchange fees).

14. What type of supporting documentation is required? (back to top)

Type of Claim

Supporting Documentation required with claim form

Undocumented Claim

No documentation is required 

Simplified Claim

Evidence of at least one (1) agreement entered with an acquirer (also known as a payment processor). 

 

This may include the Class Member’s original agreement with the acquirer, a merchant statement from an acquirer evidencing fees paid pursuant to an agreement, or other documentary evidence showing that the Class Member paid interchange fees to an acquirer during the class period.

Documented Claim

​​​​​​​For most Large merchants:

  1. Records identifying the total Credit Card Sales Volume during Class Period (merchant statements, financial statements or historical accounting records that identify Credit Card Sales Volume but does not include methods of payment other than by Credit Cards such as cash or debit), OR
  1. A declaration attesting to the Credit Card Sales Volume, the actual amount of Interchange Fees paid during the Class Period, and/or the applicable interchange rates, together with substantiating documentation.

Special rules apply to the small number of Large Merchants who issued credit cards or co-branded credit cards or received a discounted interchange rate.

Large merchants who issued their own credit cards must provide documentary proof of the actual amount of interchange fees that they paid and received.

Large merchants who issued co-branded credit cards and/or received a discounted interchange rate must submit proof of the actual rate of interchange that they paid. They must also submit enough information that allows for the actual amount of interchange fees they paid to be calculated.

15. What do you mean by “Annual Average Revenue”? Does it refer to the total annual revenue for a company or the annual revenue for VISA/Mastercard sales? (back to top)

The Annual Average Revenue refers to all revenue sources, including cash, debit, and credit cards, over the class period.

When trying to determine your Annual Average Revenue, only consider the average revenue for the years claimed – for example, if you had an annual revenue of $10,000 in 2001 and $20,000 in 2002 and $30,000 in 2003 only, and no annual revenue for any other years that qualify under this Settlement, your Annual Average Revenue would be $20,000.

16. What does “evidence of at least 1 agreement” mean? Do I need to provide evidence for each year or just evidence there was an agreement at some point in the class period? (back to top)

A class member who wishes to submit a Simplified claim, needs to provide at least one agreement with an acquirer (also known as a payment processor). However, it’s not necessary to provide the actual agreement and to provide evidence of more than one agreement, as long as the proof relates to one of the years during the class period.

The types of acceptable proof include a copy of the Class Member’s original agreement with the acquirer, a merchant statement from an acquirer evidencing fee paid pursuant to an agreement, or other documentary evidence showing that the Class Member paid interchange fees to an acquirer during the class period.

17. I’m filing a claim on behalf of a large merchant. How do I tell if I received a discounted interchange rate? (back to top)

Large merchants must declare whether they received a discounted interchange rate. This is intended to capture situations where the merchant negotiated an interchange rate that was lower than the default rate that would have otherwise applied to the merchant’s industry.

18. I’m filing a claim on behalf of a corporation that owned multiple store locations that each accepted credit cards. Do I have to file an individual claim for each store? (back to top)

No. Each corporate entity may make one claim. In this situation, the corporation will add up the annual revenue of all store locations to determine if the corporate entity qualifies as a small, medium or large merchant

19. When is the claims deadline? (back to top)

The claims deadline is:

  • 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

20. When will I receive my payment? (back to top)

Accurate claims processing takes time and will depend on the total number of claims submitted. We are currently unable to provide you with a timeline right now, however we estimate that it will be in Fall 2022 at the earliest.

21. Can I apply a surcharge? (back to top)

In addition to money, the class actions also secured the ability for merchants to apply a surcharge when accepting credit cards. A surcharge is an additional fee that a merchant adds on a transaction when the consumer pays for a product or service with a credit card. The Visa and Mastercard rules affecting surcharging are set to change October 6, 2022. You cannot apply a surcharge before then. If you intend to surcharge, you should comply with all Visa and Mastercard rules on surcharging.

Visa and Mastercard require you to provide written notice of your intention to surcharge. For merchants accepting Visa credit cards, merchants must notify their acquirers in writing at least 30 days before either publicly announcing their intention to impose surcharges, or 30 days before first assessing a surcharge. If you intend to apply a surcharge on Mastercard credit cards, you must notify both Mastercard and your acquirer at least 30 days before first doing so. Beginning September 6, 2022, you can go to http://www.mastercard.ca/surchargedisclosure for instructions on how to notify Mastercard, and you will separately need to notify your acquirer.

Visa and Mastercard rules require merchants who intend to surcharge to clearly disclose the surcharge to their customers and disclose that the surcharge is being applied by the merchant, rather than Visa or Mastercard.

The Visa and Mastercard rules also place a cap on the surcharge fee you may charge. A merchant cannot surcharge customers more than it costs the merchant to accept credit cards (or above the maximum surcharge cap, whichever is lower) and the surcharge cannot be more than any surcharge applied to other competing credit cards or Paypal.

For further information, please refer directly to the Visa and Mastercard rules on surcharging.

22. Who is the Claims Administrator? (back to top)

The courts have appointed Epiq Class Action Services Canada Inc. (an independent third party) to receive and review claims, determine eligibility for payments and issue payment for eligible Settlement Class Members.

Questions regarding the claims process should be directed to Epiq Class Action Services Canada Inc at 1 (877) 283-6548 or info@CreditCardSettlements.ca

23. Who are the lawyers that represent the Settlement Class Members? (back to top)

The Class Lawyers can be reached by email at lawyers@creditcardsettlements.ca or by phone at the following numbers:

For Non-Quebec Residents:

For Quebec Residents:

Luciana Brasil
Branch MacMaster LLP
(604) 654-2999

 Sharon Wong
Camp Fiorante Mathews Mogerman
(604) 689-7555

Jeff Orenstein
Consumer Law Group
+1 (888) 909-7863 x2

24. How will the lawyers get paid? (back to top)

You do not need to pay out-of-pocket for the lawyers working on the class actions. The lawyers were paid from the settlement funds in the amount approved by the courts.

25. How do I get more information? (back to top)

For more information, contact the court appointed administrator, Epiq: call: 1 (877) 283-6548 / TTY: 1 (877) 627-7027, email: info@CreditCardSettlements.ca, fax: 1-866-262-0816 or write to P.O. Box 507 STN B Ottawa ON K1P 5P6.

26. I am filing a claim on behalf of a large merchant that issued co-branded credit cards during the class period. Must I provide information on the actual interchange rate for all credit card transactions, or can I rely on the default interchange rate and credit card sales volumes for the credit card transactions that did not involve the co-branded credit cards? (back to top)

A class member who issued co-branded credit cards must provide information on the actual interchange rate for credit card transactions involving the class member’s co-branded credit cards. For the rest of the credit card transactions over the class period, the class member can rely on the default interchange rate and credit card sales volume, provided that the volume of transactions with the co-branded credit cards can be isolated from the total volume of credit card sales.