The Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry seeks to promote transparency and fairness for merchants and consumers.

The Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry which came into effect on August 16, 2010 aims to increase transparency and fairness for both merchants and consumers who use credit and debit cards. Applicable to credit and debit systems and their participants, payment networks that choose to adopt the Code will be subject to monitoring by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada to ensure compliance.

The policies put into place by the Code will give merchants more choice as well as pricing flexibility. For example, payment networks must provide extended notification when they increase or introduce new fees. Merchants will also be able to cancel their contracts without penalty if they disagree with the fee increases. Some policies will directly benefit consumers such as requiring payment card networks to separate credit and debit functions so that they cannot co-reside on the same card. This will help to minimize consumer confusion. Overall, the Code puts into place mechanisms which are targeted at ensuring maximum access to information for all parties involved in the credit and debit card industry.

While most sections of the Code came into effect immediately, payment networks will have until February 17, 2011 to implement certain disclosure requirements and until May 17, 2011 to re-issue cards (such as multiple access debit cards) which contravene the Code.