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New PIAC Report Studies Importance of Credit Cards to Canadians

While credit cards have become a preferred and sometimes essential means of payment, a growing group of citizens cannot get access to a card. A new report by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) studies the consequences of not being able to obtain a credit card and the use of substitutes by such individuals. The report also provides a history of credit cards, an overview of the Canadian credit card market and presents some possible alternatives to credit cards for Canadian consumers.

The PIAC report was informed by the results of several focus groups and concludes by making policy recommendations that seek to assist and protect Canadian consumers who are not able to obtain a conventional credit card. These recommendations include implementing requirements for better transparency by credit reporting agencies, and the creation of products that can assist in the establishment of creditworthiness by individuals who have not established sufficient levels to qualify for its extension.

“The use of credit cards and credit products are becoming an ordinary incident of being a full participant in economic society,’ said Michael Janigan executive director of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC). “In turn, we have to work to ensure that a reasonable opportunity is afforded all consumers to eventually become fully participating”.

Funding of the research on which this report was based was received from Industry Canada’s Contributions Program for Non-Profit Consumer and Voluntary Organizations. The views expressed in the report are not necessarily those of Industry Canada or the Government of Canada.

The report “Credit cards and access to the digital marketplace: A priceless necessity?” is available at:
http://www.piac.ca/downloads/creditcardsaccesstodigitalmarketplace.pdf

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