Over and over again, Trudeau tells Canadians life has never been better. He is of the belief that if he repeats this line over and over again it will eventually become true. Canadians are smarter than that. They know the only one for whom things are getting better is the emperor himself. Sure, the prime minister’s fine. He inherited a big family fortune, but what about the other 37 million people who call Canada home?
While the Liberals are making life more expensive by imposing new taxes, my Conservative colleagues and I are focused on helping Canadians get ahead. My Private Member’s Bill, the Credit Card Fairness Act, is just one initiative we’re talking to stand up for Canadian consumers. Since being elected in 2015, I have had the opportunity to talk with thousands of Canadians from all parts of the country about what matters most to them. Canadians are telling me life is getting more expensive and many who are working hard and playing by the rules feel like it’s impossible to get ahead.
Canadians are struggling to make ends meet and continue to fall further behind. One in four Canadians is overwhelmed by the debt they owe.
Every month, nearly half of all Canadians are within $200 of not being able to pay their basic bills. The margins are tight and many Canadians feel squeezed.
Canadians are carrying more household debt than ever before, and with interest rates rising, people are struggling to make ends meet. Part of this simply comes down to money management and budgeting, but in some cases, this problem is due to factors outside of one’s control, including deceptive banking practices.
In this day and age, it is nearly impossible to get by without a credit card. You need one for everyday expenses like paying bills online, making Amazon purchases, taking an Uber ride, and so much more. For this reason, many Canadians have no choice but to obtain a credit card. Canadians across the country are going to the banks to acquire a credit card in good faith they will be treated fairly. However, this isn’t always the case.
Currently, if consumers pay off the majority of their credit card bill before the due date, but miss paying the entire amount by even a few cents, they will be charged another month’s worth of interest on the entire original amount, rather than simply the few cents left owing. In other words, cardholders are forced to pay interest on money they’ve already paid back. Some banks hike interest rates retroactively after the cardholder has applied charges to their card. Other banks fail to make all of the terms of the agreement known upfront in their marketing materials. In a day and age when most people bank online, banks still require clients to go in person or phone to cancel their credit card.
Being able to enjoy financial stability and security starts with having access to information so that households can make the decisions right for them. The Credit Card Fairness Act will make sure financial institutions do not take advantage of card holders.
The Credit Card Fairness Act will demand fairness and transparency from the banks, so that those who play by the rules will be able to make informed financial decisions, pay off debt faster, and get ahead.
If passed, the Credit Card Fairness Act will:
1. Mandate that if a cardholder pays more than 95 per cent of the outstanding balance before the payment due date, the bank cannot charge interest on the amount paid on or before the due date. The bank can only charge interest on the amount outstanding after the due date.
2. Ensure that payments made by the credit card holder are applied to balances with the highest interest rate first, before being applied to balances at a lower interest rate.
3. Require banks to disclose on the monthly statement how much interest the cardholder has paid in the previous 12 months.
4. Require that marketing materials prominently communicate the annual fee, annual interest rate and the period of time until the introductory rate ends, along with the interest rates that will apply following that period.
banks from increasing interest rates retroactively on the cardholder’s outstanding balance owing.
6. Require banks to provide an online mechanism for consumers to cancel their credit cards and/or decrease their credit limit (right now, a cardholder must phone or visit the bank in person).
7. Legislate that banks must obtain consent before increasing a cardholder’s credit limit. Canadians deserve fairness and transparency so they’re empowered to make informed decisions with regard to their spending and do everything within their power to get ahead.
While Trudeau is focused on making life more expensive by imposing new taxes, such as the carbon tax, Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives are focused on helping Canadians get ahead.
That’s really what the Credit Card Fairness Act is all about—we‘ve taken the time to listen to Canadians and we know they deserve better.
Being able to enjoy financial stability and security starts with having access to information so that households can make the decisions that are right for them. The Credit Card Fairness Act will make sure that cardholders aren’t taken advantage of.
As Conservatives, we want to find ourselves on the side of those who dream for a better tomorrow, those who work hard, those who stretch their limits, those who are trying to build a new life, and every other person who calls Canada home. We’re committed to putting policy in place that will help them get ahead.