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From Angus Reid Institute

Credit Cards: Canadians would switch if hit with fees

Three-in-five with a points card say they would stop using it if surcharge became universal

December 6, 2022 – After the year that many Canadians have endured financially, for many the idea of paying a surcharge on regular credit card purchases may just be a swipe, tap, or pin pad too far.

The latest data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute asks credit card holders – 95 per cent of Canadian adults – how the potential for a new credit charge surcharge might affect their purchasing behaviour. Three-in-ten (28%) say an additional 1.5 per cent surcharge on would push them away from patronizing small businesses in their community, while more than two-in-five (44%) would stop shopping at major retailers that charged the fee.

Some retailers have already begun to add such a charge to purchases following the settlement of a class-action lawsuit with Visa and Mastercard. Merchants must make the fee clear to the customer, but the risk herein is evident.

With respect to smaller local businesses, Canadians are more forgiving. More than one-in-ten (13%) say they would just absorb a 1.5 per cent fee in this situation, while three-in-five (59%) would use another form of payment. If the business were a major national or international retailer, 10 per cent would absorb the cost and fewer than half would break out cash or debit.

As the industry and consumers adjust to this new reality, credit card loyalty programs are at risk of being tapped out. Four-in-five credit card holders (82%) say their primary purchasing card is connected to a loyalty program. There is palpable concern that this increased fee may reduce or altogether mitigate that benefit. Just 16 per cent of loyalty program users say a surcharge of 1.5 per cent would not deter them from using their current card, while the majority (61%) say this would make them reconsider and do away with their current primary card.

If a business charged you an extra 1.5% to use your credit card, would you: (Among those with a credit card, n=2,638)

Survey Methodology

The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from Nov. 28-30, 2022 among a representative randomized sample of 2,774 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. The survey was self-commissioned and paid for by ARI.

For detailed results by age, gender, region, education, and other demographics, click here.

For detailed results by credit card usage rate and loyalty points participation, click here.

To read the full report, including detailed tables and methodology, click here

To read the questionnaire in English and French, click here.

Image –  Karolina Grabowska/Unsplash

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From the Angus Reid Institute, Canada’s non-profit foundation committed to independent research.

For detailed breakdown of the results, visit

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