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  1. Analysis
July 8, 2022

Majority of Canadians consider themselves ‘credit card savvy’: Scotiabank

The majority of Canadians use their credit cards responsibly according to the 2022 Scotiabank credit card survey

By Douglas Blakey

Almost all Canadians with a credit card (95%) say they are good or very good at sticking to their budget spending limits when using their credit card.

Meantime, 92% of credit cardholders say they always check their monthly statement for accuracy, and 90% know the annual fee they pay on their most frequently used card.

Moreover, 61% of Canadians with a credit card say their financial knowledge about credit cards is excellent or very good, while about one-in-four (26%) say they have a good working knowledge of their card.

And only 13% of Canadians with a credit card say they don’t know much or anything at all about their card and/or the fine print. The figures are disclosed by the 2022 Scotiabank Credit Card Survey.

“Canadians are dealing with rising prices everywhere from housing to gas as a result of inflation,” says Laura Scheck, vice president of credit cards at Scotiabank.

“As Canadians adjust their budgets to cover their daily expenses, they still want to enjoy the things they have missed during the pandemic, like travel and concerts. This data from our survey shows us that the majority of Canadians are using their credit cards responsibly and seek out credit cards with enhanced rewards and features that give them the freedom to treat themselves to non-essential purchases.”

2022 Scotiabank credit card survey highlights

  • Reading the fine print: About three-in-four credit cardholders say they know how the interest rate is calculated on their card (78%), are aware of instalment plans available on eligible credit cards (76%) and say the potential to earn rewards on their card impacts their card usage (70%).
  • Carrying a balance: Just one-in-three Canadian credit cardholders say they carry a balance on their most frequently used card (31%). Canadians aged 25-34 (41%) and 35-44 (44%) are significantly more likely to carry a monthly balance on their credit card than those aged 55+ (20%).
  • Credit card debt: Close to a third of Canadians say they currently have credit card debt (31%). Canadians 35-54 years of age are significantly more likely to have credit card debt (39%) than those 18-34 years (30%) and those ages 55+ (25%).
  • Verifying monthly statements: Canadians 55 years and older are significantly more likely than those under the age of 55 to check their credit card statement monthly to ensure it’s accurate (96%).

Canada credit card sector by numbers

According to GlobalData, credit and charge card penetration in Canada stood at 219.4 cards per 100 individuals in 2020, the highest compared to its peers, the US (213.1), the UK (92.7), Spain (77.6), Sweden (75.8), France (46.3), Germany (46.0), and Italy (45.3).

In addition to card penetration, the usage of credit and charge cards is high compared to that of debit cards. The usage of credit and charge cards depends on the high consumer preference for benefits such as cashback and travel rewards. According to Payments Canada’s 2020 CPMT report, in 2019, about 78% of Canadians possessed a credit card offering some form of reward. Additionally, the rewards programme is cited as the key driver when selecting a credit card. On average, consumers in Canada use their credit and charge cards 73 times a year to make payments. The average transaction value is C$91.60.

Scotiabank American Express product refresh

The survey release coincides with Scotiabank refreshing two of its Amex branded credit cards. The Scotiabank American Express card has no annual fee and offers cardholders the opportunity to earn 2X Scene+ points on eligible everyday purchases like groceries, dining, and gas, plus additional benefits like mobile device insurance and access to special offers through American Express Invites.

The Scotiabank Platinum American Express Card brings luxury rewards to cardholders with 2X Scene+ points earned on all eligible everyday purchases, access to airport lounges, no foreign transaction fees, premium concierge service & comprehensive travel insurance coverage.

“We continue to be excited to work with Scotiabank to give their customers a faster way to earn rewards for their everyday purchases,” says William Stredwick, SVP & GM, American Express Global Network Services North America. “With the Scene+ programme, there’s more flexibility for Scotiabank’s American Express customers to redeem their points for entertainment, shopping, travel and more, providing best-in-class credit card options.”

Scene+: more than 10 million members

“With so many credit cards on the market, it can be hard to choose just one. Scotiabank wants to empower Canadians by providing some of the industry’s best benefits and features that matter to them the most,” says D’Arcy McDonald, senior vice president of retail payments and unsecured lending at Scotiabank.

“Seventy percent of respondents said that the potential of rewards earned affected their card usage. Scotiabank credit cards can provide Canadians with solutions that work best for their personal spending habits, with benefits and redemption opportunities that make their dollar go that much further.”

Canada credit cards in circulation by issuer: 2016-2020

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