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A small-business group has won lower merchant fees for its members from MasterCard Canada, a move that could put more pressure on credit-card firms to reduce their rates and prompt other associations to seek preferential pricing.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business, which represents more than 100,000 small firms, is set to unveil on Thursday a deal with MasterCard that will reduce most of CFIB members' transaction fees to levels that are now offered to just a small number of the country's largest merchants, those with annual MasterCard sales of $3-billion or more.

It will mean that, starting on April 3, most members' interchange fees for regular credit cards will drop by 12.5 per cent to 1.26 per cent of the value of a customer's purchase from 1.44 per cent currently. Full story.

Banff businesses brace for surge of visitors

Businesses in Banff are bracing for a banner year as numerous factors drive tourists to the mountain town, including the federal government's offer of free admission to all national parks to mark Canada's 150th anniversary. Full story.

A new wave of Canadian book companies taps in to the popularity of self-publishing

One thing Page Two can offer that conventional publishers can't, says Ms. White, is speed. The producers of CBC Radio show This is That approached Page Two last May with a book idea. While other publishers would normally be interested, the writers wanted the book to be in stores for the Christmas shopping season. Full story.

Three questions all business owners must be able to answer

Entrepreneurs are a passionate, creative group of people who are determined to overcome any obstacles in their path. But, sometimes, the practical elements of running a business can be overlooked. Passion and energy must be supported by a plan to create a viable business with positive cash flow. Full story.

How do I create the company culture that I want?

Customers who are impressed with you and your messaging will expect the same from your organization. When there is a negative difference between the two it could lead to trouble. Make sure that how you and the organization act, are aligned. Full story.

More small business news from around the web

Small business owner dilemma: Invest in a RRSP, or do the investing through your corporation?

While many people struggle with the decision of whether to max out their RRSP or TFSA (assuming you don't have the money to do both), incorporated small business owners, including incorporated professionals, have a more complex decision to make. Full story.

How to write off business travel and not trigger red flags at Canada Revenue Agency

In his 23 years as an accountant, Frank Jasek has been asked by clients "more than once" whether they can write off gambling expenses in Las Vegas (no, even if they are with a client). And ditto for escort services, even though they're legal in the state of Nevada. Full story.

How Snapchat is going after small and midsize businesses

The Los Angeles startup is hoping to sign up businesses for a new product that gives them year-long access to create and manage their very own geofilters. Full story.

Want to sell handmade soap? Join the crowd

What was a tedious, housewifely chore before the introduction of commercial bar soap has become a hugely popular artisanal endeavor. The term "handmade soap" pulls up more than 76,000 results on Etsy. There are 300,000 soap-making businesses in the United States, according to Leigh O'Donnell, the executive director of the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild, a nonprofit trade association. And, she added, "the number is growing." Full story.

Compiled by Sarah Efron.