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Interac requests amendment to consent agreement

OTTAWA, July 12, 2013 — Further to a request from Interac Inc., the Commissioner of Competition has consented to amend the consent agreement originally issued by the Competition Tribunal in 1996. The amended consent agreement, if approved by the Tribunal, would provide Interac the flexibility it requires to remain a viable low-cost payment alternative for merchants in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Recognizing the importance to Canadians of a dynamic and competitive payments industry, the Bureau conducted a comprehensive assessment of Interac's request, which included obtaining information from Interac and numerous market participants, as well as an extensive analysis of the rapidly evolving payments industry.

If approved by the Tribunal, the amended consent agreement will allow Interac to restructure from an unincorporated association to a corporation with an independent board. The newly restructured Interac Corporation would operate the services currently offered by the association under a cost-recovery model which would enable it to fund research and development in new and innovative payment services. Provided that Interac completes its restructuring plan, the amended consent agreement will terminate in five years.

The original 1996 consent agreement opened up the Interac network beyond the charter members of Interac and removed barriers to competition between the network participants. The amended consent agreement retains safeguards which will ensure continued open and non-discriminatory access to the Interac network.

The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.

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