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Cash or crypto? Canadians choose cash all day

5th Jul 24 8:15 am

The Bank of Canada’s latest Methods-of-Payment (MOP) survey reveals that cash remains a popular choice for Canadians, despite the rise of digital payment options.

The 2023 report shows cash use holding steady, with over 80% of Canadians attesting to carrying cash—up from 79% in the last year. Meanwhile, cryptocurrency adoption for everyday purchases remains in the single digits.

Here’s the scoop on how Canadians are paying in 2023:

  • Cash is still king (ish)—20% of all purchases in Canada were made with cash in 2023
  • Only 2.5% of Canadians used cryptocurrency for purchases in the past year
  • Canadians are carrying more cash on average – $140 in their wallets, up $10 from last year
  • 49% of Canadians recalled using cash for purchases in the past week

“The resilience of cash in Canada is remarkable,” says Tobi Opeyemi Amure, an analyst at Tradequotex.com. “While we’re seeing increased adoption of digital payment methods, cash continues to play a vital role in the Canadian economy. It’s clear that reports of Cash’s death have been greatly exaggerated.”

But this doesn’t mean digital payments are dead in the country—far from that. The survey showed some interesting trends:

  • 45% of Canadians used some type of mobile app for payments in the past year
  • That’s up from 37% in 2022 – a pretty significant jump
  • Interac e-Transfer use shot up to 58%, a 7 percentage point increase

From what we can see, it looks like Canadians are diversifying their payment options rather than abandoning cash altogether. They’re adding new digital methods to their wallets while keeping a healthy stash of bills and coins on hand.

The Bank of Canada is also keeping tabs on Canadians’ access to cash. New questions in the survey revealed that 68% of Canadians find it easy or very easy to get to an ATM when they need to withdraw cash. That’s good news for cash lovers, but it also means about a third of the population might face some hurdles in getting their hands on physical money.

As for going completely cashless? Not anytime soon. A solid 80% of Canadians say they have no plans to stop using cash in the future. That’s the same as last year, showing cash isn’t budging from its place in Canadian wallets anytime soon.

While Canada’s payment landscape is evolving, it’s not a zero-sum game between cash and crypto. Canadians seem to be taking a “both/and” approach rather than an “either/or” when it comes to their payment options.

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