Are merchants permitted to charge fees for the activation, usage or non-use of prepaid cards? Here is a summary of regulations for cards that can be used as cash.

Types of charges

Activation and usage

Types of charges Fees permitted
Card issued by a financial institution that can be used wherever the payment system indicated on the card is accepted Yes
Card redeemable in all the stores in a shopping centre or region Yes, see limits below
All other cards that can be used as cash No

Replacement

Types of charges Fees permitted

At the merchant’s request

No
At your request

Yes

Customizing

Types of charges Fees permitted
At your request

Yes

Activation and usage fees

Fees may only be charged in 2 situations:

  • the card was issued by a financial institution and can be used wherever the payment system indicated on the card is accepted. The financial institution may charge the activation and monthly fees it sees fit, provided that you are informed of them;
  • the card can be redeemed in all the stores in a shopping centre or at all the merchants in a particular region. In this case, the merchant may charge one of these 2 amounts:

    • $3.50 when the card is issued,
    • $2.50 per month as of the 15th month after the card was issued, when the card has not been used before. The merchant may charge these fees only after the 18th month if you make a request for an extension before the end of the 14th month.

Replacement fees

If the merchant requires you to replace your card, it must be replaced for free. The balance on your cards remains intact.

For a lost or stolen card, merchants may charge replacement fees if they informed you of this policy before you purchased the card. Merchants may also refuse to replace the card if they did not agree to do so and do not have a record of the card balance.

Fees for customizing

Merchants are permitted to charge fees to customize a card, for example if you wish to have your name or your picture on it.

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Last update : June 15, 2018

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The information contained on this page is presented in simple terms to make it easier to understand. It does not replace the texts of the laws and regulations.