Ottawa says working on credit card regulations

Wed Apr 22, 2009 4:24pm EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Finance Minister Jim Flaherty hinted on Wednesday he may soon announce new regulations for credit cards, but he gave no details.

"We have regulatory power and we're working on certain regulations, which I'll be able to speak about publicly soon," Flaherty told reporters.

He said the federal budget, which recently became law, gave his office a bigger oversight role over credit cards.

It was not clear what the rules would do, but there has been growing concern in Canada about rising interest rates charged to some consumers on their credit cards.

Retailers have also recently complained about transaction fees they must pay every time they accept a credit card for payment.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business reported one in five credit card customers receive unsolicited new premium credit cards, according to a public opinion poll. It suggested that companies were sending these cards to individuals, such as the poor and elderly, who may not be able to manage higher debt levels.

The Senate is holding hearings on credit cards this week.

(Reporting by Randall Palmer; writing by Louise Egan; editing by Peter Galloway)