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This photo shows a stack of MasterCard and VISA credit cards

Jochen Krause/Jochen Krause/AP

Many consumers may like premium credit cards for all the points and rewards they offer -- but small and medium-sized businesses aren't as delighted by the higher credit-card processing fees that come with the cards, which they say eat into their profits. Now a push by the Competition Bureau to lessen the load on merchants is setting the stage for a high-stakes battle with the major credit card companies.

Among the bureau's recommendations are that retailers be given the right to choose not to accept premium credit cards, and that they be able to collect surcharges at the cash register to help cover their higher transaction costs.

It's all causing a lot of controversy among card companies, consumer groups and retailers, who are themselves split over the need for surcharges.

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To discuss the issue and field your questions, Dan Kelly, senior vice-president of legislative affairs for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, and Garth Whyte, president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association, were online.

Mobile readers can link here.





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