Cash Remains King in Canada—But Payment Behavior is Evolving Rapidly

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New research that reveals that while changing payment behaviors of Canadian consumers and businesses are changing, cash remains king—for now.

The “Canadian Payment Methods and Trends” report released this week by Payments Canada shows that cash and other paper transactions, such as cheques, are still leading—but in Canada new payment channels are a growing share of the market.

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These trends reinforce the need for Canada to adapt its payment systems as the global payments ecosystem changes, the report suggests.

“The Canadian Payment Methods and Trends report is an important window into the future of payments technology in Canada,” says Carol Ann Northcott, Payments Canada’s chief risk officer and vice-president of risk, security and research. “While paper-based payment methods continue to decline, emerging technology is shaping the Canadian payment landscape of the future.”

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The CPMT research uncovered several trends between 2008 and 2015. For example, In 2015, the payments market in Canada grew to 20.9 billion transactions, worth more than $8.9 trillion. And last year contactless payments grew by 70 per cent in both volume and value of transactions.

Cash continues to account for the most transaction volume, but cash use is on a downward trend. Since 2011, cash use has declined by 20 per cent. Meanwhile, online transfers are the fastest growing, reaching an estimated 120 million transactions worth $45 billion in 2015.

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