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December 9, 2019

Electronic payments account for 73% of all transactions in Canada

A new report by Payments Canada has shown that electronic payments made up 73% of total transaction volume recorded in 2018.

The 2019 Canadian Payments Methods and Trends report reviewed the 21.1 billion transactions carried out last year. These transactions total more than C$9.9trillion ($7.469trillion) in value.

According to the study, Canadians are moving towards new digital channels, including contactless, mobile and e-commerce payments.

Cash payments accounted for only 21% of all transactions. It was observed that cash transactions volume dropped 40% from 2013 to 2018.

Contactless transactions in Canada

Contactless transactions increased by 30% from 2017 to 2018. A total of 4.1 billion contactless payments were made using card and mobile, accounting to CA$129.9bn in value.

Debit payments constituted 60% of the contactless transactions.

The report also found mobile devices were used by approximately 35% of Canadians for contactless payments. This is said to indicate a slower uptake compared to contactless cards.

This is considered to be due to security concerns, where only less than a third of consumers believe that mobile payments are secure.

A 52% year-over-year growth of online transfers was also observed.

Card transactions

Debit and credit cards comprise the major portion of total transaction volume. However, electronic funds transfers (EFT) and cheque and paper payments contribute to the majority of the transaction value.

Credit card transaction volume grew by 52% from 2013 to 2018.

Payments Canada head of Research and Strategic Foresight Cyrielle Chiron said: “There has been a remarkable transition from paper-based to digital payments over the last five years, but there is still a huge opportunity and need to advance Canada’s payments landscape.

“Looking to the future, our Modernisation program is laying the groundwork to ensure Canadian consumer and business needs for more control, convenience and affordable payments, are met.”

Payments Canada prepared the report in alliance with payment service providers, payments consultants and researchers.

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