Canadians ready to drop cheques

Source: Payments Canada

Dropping the $1,000 note and penny from our currency pales in comparison to the paperless, digital payment revolution that is underway. According to the Payments Pulse survey conducted by Payments Canada and Leger Marketing, the country seems willing to change with a majority ready to drop cheques altogether and half willing to do the same with cash.

Yet, with change comes uncertainty. Although users of electronic payment tools, such as e-wallets, almost unanimously applaud their convenience, very few Canadians (less than 15 per cent) have adopted such innovations to date.

When asked, 66 per cent of respondents are willing to let go of cheques and 50 per cent cash. Of the only 13 per cent of Canadians who have adopted e-wallets, 83 per cent say convenience is the greatest benefit. Although a majority are not willing to pay a fee (70%) for such convenience, a surprisingly high percentage of respondents (48%) are willing to trade a certain amount of privacy.

Interestingly, on an emotional scale from very excited to very anxious about such changes, 50 per cent said they were somewhat to very anxious about the arrival of e-wallets. When asked about other fast emerging innovations like artificial intelligence and self-driving cars, the anxiety levels edged even higher hitting close to two thirds of Canadians.

In mobile banking, just over a quarter (27%) have deposited a cheque using their smartphone camera with a staggering 97 per cent satisfaction rate. When shopping online, 41 per cent have stored their personal credit card information within a mobile app or an online ecommerce site and 9 out of 10 people are confident in its security.

“As we modernize the Canadian payments system, it is important to regularly take the pulse on the attitudes and behaviours of Canadians,” says Gerry Gaetz, CEO of Payments Canada. “This data demonstrates a natural ambivalence around emerging technological advancements in payments but endorsement from early adopters, which often signifies a tipping point. This is an important insight for Payments Canada and our financial institution participants as we collaborate on the future of Canadian payments.”

Other key findings from the Payments Pulse survey:
• On average, Canadians make 22 cash transactions a month, spending a total sum of $220. They also write three cheques a month worth a total value of $245.
• Only 19% of the population does their shopping online.
• One-quarter (27%) of Canadians are willing to pay per transaction to not have to use cash or cheques and use an electronic payment that is accessible through the internet or mobile device.

The results both support and inform the transformation that Payments Canada is undertaking with the financial services industry to modernize the payments infrastructure and rules that underpin financial transactions in Canada. When completed, financial institutions and payment service providers will have a modern, fast and data-rich infrastructure on which to innovate and develop better ways for Canadians to pay for goods and services and transfer money.

The survey of 1,500 Canadians was completed online between March 23 and April 2, 2017. A probability sample of this size would yield a margin of error +/- 2.5% 19 times out of 20.

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