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Covid-19 accelerates Canadian move to digital payments

Source: Interac

According to new data released by Interac Corp., payment transaction records show that today, more than ever, Canadian consumers and businesses are adopting digital methods to spend, send and receive money.

A record-setting 61.3 million Interac e-Transfer® transactions took place in April.

Interac data shows that since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic[1], Canadians have increasingly opted for digital solutions over cash and cheques – and many for the first time. Since mid-March, first-time Interac e-Transfer users increased by 43 per cent and the average number of transactions increased by 9 per cent compared to the same time last year. While Canadians were using these methods regularly pre-pandemic, a surge in growth of new users on the Interac e-Transfer platform suggests that the shift to digital will last beyond pandemic measures.

The shift away from cash and cheques is also reflected in the double-digit growth of Interac® Debit for In-App and In-Browser Payments since mid-March and the 5 per cent increase in contactless Interac Flash® transactions since the initial spending dip in mid-March.

“This digital shift isn’t unexpected, but crisis situations compress timelines and Canadians are quickly seeking out secure and convenient digital payment options adhering to physical distancing recommendations,” said William Keliehor, Chief Commercial Officer, Interac Corp. “COVID-19 is accelerating a new era in payments driven by the changing needs of Canadians and Canadian businesses, and for many, these convenient ways to pay will have a stickiness factor that will influence a long-term shift in behaviour.”

Canadian businesses are also adapting to pandemic restrictions using digital payment solutions. Since mid-March, businesses have been receiving 35 per cent more Interac e-Transfer transactions than expected. Canadian businesses are shifting to digital payment solutions for everyday transactions like paying suppliers, or small businesses using the platform to accept payments in place of cash or cheques. Offering Interac Flash, Interac Debit for In-App and In-Browser Payments and Interac e-Transfer as payment methods allows some businesses with physical distancing restrictions to continue to serve customers.

“Businesses and consumers are discovering new ways to transact and manage their finances: from sending money to a neighbour for grocery sharing, to the small food establishments accepting Interac e-Transfer transactions and selling baked goods from the kitchen. When it comes to small businesses, these behaviour changes are helping those that, now more than ever, need efficiencies and cost-savings to power operations, serve customers, and compete in a digital economy,” added Keliehor. 

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