Nova Scotia

Growing debit use has some retailers charging fees

Increasing debit use has some customers saying a growing number of stores are charging a fee for debit use to offset the cost of providing the service.
Maritime retailers spend about $31.7 million on debit transactions every year. (CBC)

Increasing debit use has some customers saying a growing number of stores are charging a fee for debit use to offset the cost of providing the service.  

Interac Association, the company that provides debit service for Canadians, said Maritimers used their debit cards almost 264 million times last year.  

Retailers must pay for debit equipment. Something people may not realize is when consumers use their debit card to pay for purchases, that store is charged an average of 12 cents for every transaction.  

That amounts to $31.7 million Maritime retailers spend on debit transactions every year.  

Oddjects in downtown Halifax doesn't charge for debit purchases but manager Lauren Fullerton said when you consider purchases on debit and credit cards — which also charge fees — it adds up.  

"With any credit card or debit card there is a charge for every transaction, debit is one of the lower ones but there is still a charge, so it does add up," said Fullerton.  

She said debit is the most common payment method and that the charges per transaction really add up.  

It's never low if there's a lot of transactions through debit or credit, normally it's a pretty big charge," said Fullerton.

Alexis Debad usually makes her purchases with a debit card and she said she has no problem with an extra fee tacked on by the store for that privilege.  

"I would say that I'm super used to it already. I feel like most places have that policy in place so it seems normal," said Debad.  

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