[u] Bank of Canada: Only 7% of Canadians Use Mobile Payments [Report]

PayPal-commissioned studies have already suggested that Canadians are ready to ditch their wallets in favour of mobile payments. But how does this look in reality? Well, the use of cash is on the decline, but the picture isn’t as bright as studies might have suggested, as Canadians still prefer other payment methods to using their smartphones to pay for goods and services, a discussion paper entitled “2013 Methods-of-Payment Survey Results” released recently by Bank of Canada reveals (via the Winnipeg Free Press).


There is shift away from cash toward electronic payments, the study says, highlighting the rising number of credit card payments versus debit card and cash payments.

The drop in cash transactions is noteworthy compared to Bank of Canada’s corresponding report from 2009: In 2013, cash accounted for 44% of the volume and 23% of the value of total payments, down 10% since six years ago. Credit card transactions are up 11% in volume.

“The decrease in the volume share of cash use is not surprising in light of the introduction of payment innovations such as contactless payment cards and some stored-value cards which were designed to mimic the desirable properties of cash – i.e. they are easy to use and are fast,” the report says.

An interesting highlight of the study relates to mobile payments, especially in the light of Apple Pay, which is about to enter Canada in November, according to the WSJ. Fact is, players who have already entered the market have already suggested that adoption rate is slow, but now we have some figures, thanks to the Bank of Canada study: Only 7% of Canadians made a payment using a mobile phone, with the highest usage being among 18–34 year olds.

The report concludes that “advances in technology and new business models may result in more payment innovations that could further affect the use of cash in Canada.” Fact is, to use Apple Pay or any other mobile payment platform, merchants need to accept that payment method, and they need an incentive to upgrade their POS system to accept mobile payments. As for users, they may need to have the latest hardware to be able to pay with a mobile system.

Until then, cash and card payments will continue to account for the biggest chunk of transactions in the country.

Update: Here are some charts you may find interesting.

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Technology enthusiast, rocker, biker and writer of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter or contact me via email: istvan@iphoneincanada.ca

  • Tony

    Dear Bank of Canada: More Canadians would use mobile payments if it were more accessible… Canada lags behind in new technology most of the time. The difference here is most major outlets have card readers equipped to handle NFC payments, so it would be an easy transition.

  • Russell Porter

    I agree. There is a limited # of retailers in my area who even have touch based payment terminals. You can bet mobile payments would be used a lot more if the tech was available at more locations.

  • Stroodle

    I agree with the first 2 posts as well – I would certainly be on board with Apple Pay based on what I know of it. I like the security of it. I don’t know of any other electronic options that I have in my area currently. I guess people can manipulate information anyway they want, but I think the adaption rate will be higher and faster and larger based than this information is indicating.

  • Flash

    What the report should say is that 100% of those who have access to mobile payments in Canada use it. What a useless statement. Only 1% of Canadians use a helicopter to go to work.

  • pacific707

    haha what a great post!! This just illustrates how stupid banks are. Give the customers what they want! I bet Canada has more touch terminals than any other country. I use tap all the flipping time and it just pisses me off I can’t use my watch.

  • It’s Me

    Bank of Canada: Only 7% of Canadians Use Mobile Payments

    Is it 7% of Canadians or 7% of transactions? Because those aren’t the same thing at all. The headline says Canadians, the article says transactions. If it’s transactions, that could mean 100% of Canadian all using it for 7% of their payment or 7% of Canadians using it for 100% of their payments, etc.

  • raslucas

    My Carrier – Bank combination does not support it of I’m SOL. Else I would all the time…. Obviously…. These reports are meaningless, except that they show a lack of pragmatic knowledge of Canadian consumers by Canadian Bankers.

  • Dylan Kaake

    That statistic seams irrelevant, seeing as the only viable options for mobile payments or only available to certain consumers. Like you have to be a member with a certain bank or carrier to use that option. But most banks in Canada are just competing with each other, and breaking up the playing field. Now there are just to many random options. I think that is the reason Canadians don’t feel secure with those payments as well. There is not a consistent, unified system. Like apple pay.

  • Start by just fixing PayPass… Never works in half the stores that accept it. How often do you hear from the clerk : “sorry, we are not there yet (paypass)” or in a Tim Hortons “sorry, paypass is not working”…

  • xeronine992

    Honestly, I’ve never been to a TIm’s where contactless payments didn’t work. PayPass, PayWave, and Interac Flash have always worked there.

    The only store I was at recently was a Toys R Us where they said I couldn’t tap to pay.

  • Mozbius

    Basically Canadians don’t do much mobile payments…. because it’s like almost impossible to do so in Canada. I wasn’t even aware that mobile payments existed in Canada (at least I’ve never seen it in Quebec). Can anybody tell me where mobile payments are possible?

    Childish comment warning :
    I chuckled when I read : “need an incentive to upgrade their POS system” Yeah I know that it means Point Of Service. But still the alternate meaning for POS still makes sense in this context. lol!

  • erth

    Because their apps suck. bring us apple pay…..

  • Piece of sh!t!

  • Brian

    Only 7% because probably only 7% have access. My bank doesn’t support my phone, or a zillion other phones. And my phone has perfectly good NFC.

    I also doubt my carrier supports it either.

    It’s a completely lost cause when banks and mobile carriers are the gating factors to all of this working.