Canada seeks voluntary bank agreement to lower credit card costs

TORONTO, Sept 4 Thu Sep 4, 2014 2:59pm EDT

TORONTO, Sept 4 (Reuters) - The Canadian government would like credit card companies and banks to voluntarily agree to lower transaction fees paid by retailers, and to do so within months, Finance Minister Joe Oliver said on Thursday.

"We've said in last year's budget that the government will work with stakeholders to promote fair and transparent practices and to help lower credit card acceptance fees for merchants and also to encourage merchants to reduce prices for consumers," Oliver told a news conference.

"We would like to see this proceed on a voluntary basis at this point. ... We're looking at months, not years, obviously," he said. (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; writing by Randall Palmer and David Ljunggren)