Canadian Payment Methods and Trends Report finds cash is king, for now

Need for fast, flexible and secure payments system drives Modernization in Canada

Ottawa, ON – (November 16, 2016) – Payments Canada has released new research that reveals the changing payment behaviours of Canadian consumers and businesses.

The Canadian Payment Methods and Trends (CPMT) report released today shows that cash and other paper transactions, such as cheques, are still leading, but in Canada new payment channels are a growing share of the market. These trends reinforce the need for Canada to adapt its systems as the global payments ecosystem changes, which is what Payments Canada is doing with its Modernization Initiative.

“The Canadian Payment Methods and Trends report is an important window into the future of payments technology in Canada,” says Carol Ann Northcott, Payments Canada’s chief risk officer and vice-president of risk, security and research. “While paper-based payment methods continue to decline, emerging technology is shaping the Canadian payment landscape of the future.”

The CPMT research uncovered several trends between 2008 and 2015 that are relevant to Canadian consumers:

  • In 2015, the payments market in Canada grew to 20.9 billion transactions, worth more than $8.9 trillion.
  • Consumer demands for speed, convenience and rewards are driving many of the trends at merchant locations, including credit card, contactless (tapping your payment card or mobile device to pay) and e-commerce. In 2015, contactless payments grew by 70 per cent in both volume and value of transactions.
  • Cash continues to account for the most transaction volume, but cash use is on a downward trend. Since 2011, cash use has declined by 20 per cent.
  • Online transfers are the fastest growing, reaching an estimated 120 million transactions worth $45 billion in 2015.
  • The use of cheques continues to decline with a 25 per cent decrease since 2011, but the value has been buoyed by continuing use by Canadian commercial enterprises, growing by more than two per cent on average each year.

Payments Canada is still in the early stages of its Modernization journey but we expect that changes to core payment systems will have an impact on the payment methods and trends in Canada. The journey to Modernization will result in faster, flexible and more secure transactions and the new core systems will serve a platform for innovation and the creation of new payments products.

The CPMT report was compiled by Payments Canada with the help of payment service providers, payments consultants and researchers to help build comprehensive understanding of the Canadian payment landscape in 2015.

For more information and to read the full report, please visit 


About Payments Canada:

Payments Canada ensures that financial transactions in Canada are carried out safely and securely each day. The organization underpins the Canadian financial system and economy by owning and operating Canada’s payment clearing and settlement infrastructure, including associated systems, bylaws, rules and standards. The value of payments cleared and settled by Payments Canada in 2015 was nearly $50 trillion, or $197 billion every business day. These encompass a wide range of payments made by Canadians and businesses involving inter-bank transactions, including those made with debit cards, pre-authorized debits, direct deposits, bill payments, wire payments and cheques

For media inquiries, please visit the Media Centre.

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