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Just like throwing on a pair of jeans has become a casual Friday ritual, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) hopes that Canadians will start observing Credit Free Fridays.

The CFIB started promoting the campaign on Nov. 8 by encouraging Canadian consumers to pay with cash or Interac Debit when they make purchases on Fridays.

“Small businesses are finding it increasingly challenging to absorb the high fees they are charged by the credit card companies and banks,” said CFIB president Dan Kelly in a statement.

As you may know, a cash sale costs a merchant nothing and a debit card sale costs pennies but when a customer buys something on credit the seller pays a transaction fee anywhere from 1.5 to 3 percent of the purchase price.

“Very few consumers know that $5-7 billion each year in credit card processing fees is embedded in the cost of everything they buy, and with ever-higher tiers of premium cards hitting the market, that cost is only going up," adds Kelly.

The CFIB reports that credit card debt reached nearly $74 billion across the country in November 2012, which translates into about $2,000 for each Canadian.

In October, Statistics Canada estimated that the average Canadian has approximately $27,000 in consumer debt, excluding mortgages.

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